Time with Kids

KiteOver the last Twelve months I have had a lot happening in my life. I was implementing a Quality Management System for one organisation, project managing a Community Sleepout, delivering training, Officer Commanding two Army Reserve Squadrons and finished my Masters to name a few. This all meant that some areas of my life had to be sacrificed.

My children and family saw a lot less of me than normal. I ended up being away from home for more than a quarter of the year. So now that most of those tasks are behind me and my schedule has freed up I am enjoying spending a lot more time with my kids. This time is not so much about actions… It is not just about doing big things, it has been more about spending time and being there.

This time has translated in kite flying (it has been a long time since I have done this), seeing my daughter in the book week parade, seeing my daughter play netball on a Saturday (it has been over a year since I had attended a game) and today I have a Father’s Day breakfast and helping at a school disco at my youngest child’s school.

The last twelve months have be a very productive time and many good things were achieved. At the same time there has been sacrifices made by not just by myself, but also my children and family. I look forward to the next twelve months being more about family. My children are growing up and it will come a time where they will want to be more independent. In meantime….. Bring on family time.

  • Have you ever been through a busy and productive time in your life?
  • What did you and others you love have to sacrifice?
  • Did you work on balancing these sacrifices afterwards?

 

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I am sleeping out to raise funds and awareness for Homelessness, please support my efforts through sponsorship at  http://sleepout.org.au/my-fundraising/2118/canberra-community-sleep-out

NetballBook Week

Rights vs Responsibilities

We live in a world where we hear a lot about people and their their rights… I often wonder if we have forgotten about responsibilities. Before you tell me that I do not care about other people, this is not true. I have just noticed that we get so focused on protecting our rights that we forget our responsibilities to others and society.

Imagine if everyone was responsible….. What would the world be like? Would we need to talk about rights? I challenge you and say no…. Rights would naturally flow to everyone if we all fulfilled our responsibilities. So what is responsibility? In my mind it is about contribution.

Contribution to society and contribution to the community. I am not just talking about volunteering, but about everything. What is it that you do workwise to contribute to society? What do you do as a volunteer to contribute to society? The way you bring up your children also contributes. In fact the way you live your life either contributes to society or takes away from society. It does not have to be big things, but it is about leaving the world a better place.

When you next feel hard done by or like you need to defend your rights I challenge you…. Think about how you contribute to society and what you bring to the table. I find this gives me strength and also opens up opportunity for other things. By focusing on my contribution and responsibility I find that I am uplifted and others around me are also inspired.

 

  • How do you contribute through your work?
  • How do you contribute through your family?
  • How do you contribute through your your other pursuits?

 

 

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Spring Time

c76ea8f331618c3954814a331b1ef6dcIt is that time of year again in the southern hemisphere. It is the second day of spring and once again the the sun is shining and the flowers are blossoming. It is a beautiful time of the year as nature wakes up from it’s sleep over winter. The days are getting longer, which means more sunlight.

Nature goes through cycles as part of its growth and renewal program. Spring is the time for new life. In our lives do we give ourselves the opportunity to grow and renew? I know that quite often I get so busy with life and what I am doing that I forget to give myself the space to slow down and review what I am doing and why.

As spring arrives it is a good time think about what it is that I am doing and what it is that I want to be doing…… And why? Remember the why. I have to often done things without thinking about the why, however the why is the important part of ensuring that our renewal process has us renewed into the person I want to be.

  • When is the last time you took the opportunity to renew?
  • What is it you want to be doing with your life?
  • And what is the why?

 

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I am sleeping out to raise funds and awareness for Homelessness, please support my efforts through sponsorship at  http://sleepout.org.au/my-fundraising/2118/canberra-community-sleep-out

Sitting behind the Column

20ca56e77d52b3a99263ee55fd7d0e7aFor the last few weeks I have been sitting in the pews at church that are behind a column. This means that you can hear everything, but not see everything that is going on. This lack of use of all the senses does cut down on the situational awareness of what is going on. It is harder to focus on the Mass as it is easier to be distracted.

It got me thinking about the way we work with people. Are there parts of the puzzle that I am hiding from them? Is there sensitive information that I do not share? Is there just not time to share everything? Do I limit what emails I pass on to my team?

Yes, there can be good reasons for confidentiality and privacy so that we do not share everything with our teams. However I would encourage you to review what you hold back and evaluate if it really needs to be held back from the team. My guess is that we should share more rather than less with our teams.

But why would I say this? With more shared with the teams they will have the full picture. Rather than sitting behind a column and have most of their view blocked they will be able to have a greater understanding of the situation. Yes, you can outline your priorities and understanding of the situation as you pass on the information. Just make sure that your team is not disadvantaged through not having all the information.

 

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Turning a Downed Tree by nature into Mulch

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

IMG_20150830_160829Earlier this week I had the storms blow over one of the larger trees in my front yard. No real damage except the tree thankfully. So on the weekend I thought I had better start cleaning up the mess. With the assistance of some of my children we started to cut up the tree and mulch it up for the garden beds.

What a gift. Nature has blown over a tree that I was not sure what to do with and the garden beds needed more mulch. Perfect solution. It is funny how life will often send us opportunities, though not always looking like opportunities at the time, and we can choose to make the most of them. When things happen it is often good to take a step back and look at two things. What is negative consequence of the event and what are the opportunities of the event.

With the negative consequences we want to ensure that we mitigate the intolerable downside. While at the same time we want to take advantage of the upside and opportunities. Life is like that. Events happen and quite often it is up to us to interpret. When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade.

  • When is the last time you were handed a lemon?
  • What was the mitigations for the downside that you put in place?
  • What was the opportunities that came from this event?

 

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I am sleeping out to raise funds and awareness for Homelessness, please support my efforts through sponsorship at  http://sleepout.org.au/my-fundraising/2118/canberra-community-sleep-out

The Tale of Three Bologneses

65f57548ab46110fc684a897b516ad9eI have conducted an experiment this week with bolognese. I cooked dinner for the children most nights and on three of the nights I cooked pasta with bolognese. But there is a twist…. One day I cooked with beef mince, the next I cooked with pork mince and the third I cooked with chicken mince.

I have always cooked my bolognese with beef mince previously so I was curious about what the children would think of the other two. All in all the children enjoyed all three. Overall the preference is beef, but all were good. One of my daughters even preferred the chicken bolognese.

After cooking many bologneses over the years and always using beef, it was interesting to break the habit and try something new. Though when doing it at the time I was uncertain how it would turn out, I must admit that I was very happy with the results.

  • What habit do you have that needs breaking?
  • What is something that you could experiment with?
  • What is something outside your comfort zone that is worth exploring?

 

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I am sleeping out to raise funds and awareness for Homelessness, please support my efforts through sponsorship at  http://sleepout.org.au/my-fundraising/2118/canberra-community-sleep-out

Canberra is Beautiful

08a2720feadec43622e41e72d6572af5Canberra is where I live. It is the capital city of Australia, though many overseas think it is Sydney or Melbourne. It is a bush capital with plenty of reserves and nature areas throughout the city. Though a small city we are growing.

Many look at Canberra as a full of politicians and public servants. They see Canberra as a dull and boring place. Yes, it gets cold in winter and hot in summer, though I think it is a beautiful place to bring up children. Everything is so close and the traffic is easy.

As for not much to do, there is plenty. There is of course the big things Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, Questacon, the arboretum, Stromlo Forest Park ….. and there is also other things like nature walks and Cockington Green. There is many many things to do in Canberra. Plus we are close to the Snowy Mountains and that that brings.

I think that Canberra is a great place to live for lifestyle or to visit. Whether you are looking for children friendly activities, outdoor adventure or wineries Canberra is beautiful.

 

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Systems equal Freedom

As I am getting to the end of the audit for ISO9001 certification for an organisation I am working for, I am am impressed with the way that the organisation has embedded the Quality Management Systems. The embedding of the systems has made the process much simpler and easier.

Coming from a business background I have always seen systems as a way to ensure that things get done without consistent direct involvement. A good system will enable the processes of a business to run efficiently and provide some control measures for quality.

Without systems you will see management and staff running around constantly dealing with the same issues over and over again. So I believe that good systems will reduce the time and effort required to maintain a process. Yes, there will be a time and effort investment into the development of the system, however it will reduce the long term cost.

As I am being audited, I can see that the systems implemented to date will save time and effort in the future, have provided management with better decision making information and have made the whole process of being audited much easier.

 

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Are you Real and Authentic?

c219bb760746ce4c317d73d4780b1d6dI am normally a happy, upbeat and optimistic type of person. To most people I seem happy all the time. And honestly mostly I am. There was several months at the start of this year where I was not my normal self. I was down, lost my mojo, felt weak and without energy. During this time I ask for and received help. And now I am back to my normal me.

During this downtime I received some advice not to tell anyone and hide it. I was advised that if I shared my experience it would impact on career and the way senior people in an organisation would view you. It would also impact on the way people in junior roles would view you too. The advice I received was that sharing the experience was not a good thing.

I was thinking about the advice I received and being the rebel I am I am going to go against it. I am going to do this for two reasons. The first is that by sharing the experience all the way through to getting help and getting back on my feet can assist others having similar experiences. I would rather be real and authentic and help others than be selfish and worry about my career.

The second reason is that if people do not like me because of my experiences then stuff them…. I do not need them to give their approval. I would rather be real and authentic. If senior people in an organisation do not like this about me, then they can lose my services, I am worth far more to them than they are to me.

When sharing about yourself, there is way to this. It is about being real and authentic in order to help others. It is not about getting special concessions from others. Yes some people will lose respect for you and it may be a career limiting move. But I believe that being real and authentic is the best way to help others and live with yourself.

Are you real and authentic?

Has being real and authentic affected your career?

Through being real and authentic how have you helped others?

 

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Half Full or Half Empty

DSC_0792There is a lot of talk about the way we talk. Do we view a glass of water as half full or half empty? Both are factually correct, however the way we say it will have a lot to do with the way we see the world. Some will see a positive side to things, while others will play more the devil’s advocate. Both views are important when planning and running projects and programs.

Yesterday afternoon a little bit of a storm came through near where I live and one of the trees in our front yard came down. My wife called to tell me and she was more on the glass half empty side of the fence. Meanwhile I was all excited as a tree had not come down before on a property I lived at. I could not wait to see it.

My daughter, who I picked up from music lessons on the way home thought I was nuts. I was talking about the fallen tree and could not wait to see it. I was hoping it fell across the driveway and I would have to plan some cool action to clear the way to the house. On arriving home I took some photos and was still bouncing with excitement.

I must admit that I knew no one was hurt and the locations of the trees in the yard would have meant no property damage. In the end the tree has not blocked anything and I will clear it up on the weekend. However even now I am thinking like “I was not sure if I wanted to keep that tree and now I know it is to go”….. Glass half full.

That said it is important for me to ensure that I do not become overly optimistic and have a balance in my outlook. For me that is having other people around that can give me the glass half empty story to ensure that I have not missed anything in my optimistic planning and outlook.

  • Are you a glass half full or half empty type of person?
  • How do you ensure that you balance this out for a balanced outlook?
  • What can you do to ensure a more balanced outlook moving forward?

 

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I am sleeping out to raise funds and awareness for Homelessness, please support my efforts through sponsorship at  http://sleepout.org.au/my-fundraising/2118/canberra-community-sleep-out

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