- Do you try to have a Work-Life Balance?
- Do you live a struggle trying to balance your life?
- Do you live for the weekend?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you may not be working in your area of passion. You may be viewing work as a way to make money to do the things in life that you want to do. Work may be something that you put up with and you balance work with your life’s passions.
If this is the case then I challenge you to think differently. What if instead of thinking about work-life balance we thought about a blended lifestyle? What is a blended lifestyle? What if you lived a lifestyle within your passions and made your living in this way? What if you blended your passions and work together? Wouldn’t that be an awesome lifestyle.
Yesterday I caught up with Kylie Travers for a cuppa. It is always inspiring to catch up with others that are living their passion in life and helping others. Our conversation was about life, passion, work and business. Yes, we all have challenges in life, however that should not stop us living our dreams and passions. Kylie talked about living a blended lifestyle rather than living a balanced life.
I am realist and realise that there will always be things that you will have to do in your life that you do not enjoy. Not everything that you do will put a smile on your face. However these things should not take up most of you life. It is like exercise… Most people do not enjoy starting the exercise process, however through exercise you feel better and healthier. So though the process to start is hard, however it is a beneficial and enjoyable process in the long run.
- What is your passion for your life?
- What does your dream lifestyle look like?
- What is a way that you can make a living from your passion and dreams?
When I finished up in my role at Communities@Work, I set out a plan for the future. Those of you that know me are thinking of course you did. That is not normal, most people would be thinking about getting another role somewhere…etc, etc, etc. Well I am not normal as you know, so I set out a plan to spend the first week with my children, the second week doing army and then take a few weeks to think about my next step.
Can I say that it has been a good plan so far, however I am not good at sitting on my hands. Yes, I did spend the first week hanging with the children and so far this week I have been catching up on my army work. But in reality I am hyperactive and can not sit still. The whole sit back and think for a few weeks about what to do next… Great plan, but really, could I?
So in addition to the children and army work, I have put together a proposal for one organisation to implement a Leadership Development Program, done Financial Management coaching with another and preparing for coaching work with another. All of this does not include meeting with other potential collaborators and friends. Oh, also did I tell you that I also developed a plan forward for my business…. It needs some detail, but the outline is there.
In reality I am busier than when I was working….. And loving it. I can not wait for next week, when I start really putting plans into place. I have learnt so much about so much in the last ten days and it has been great. I certainly can say that my mind, body and spirit have all been exercised and developed…. It is amazing how freeing up space in one’s life can lead to awesome things happening.
- What is your passion in life?
- What needs to change for you to realise your passion?
- What is the first step for heading in that direction?
As I am getting more and more excited about my future and the possibilities moving forward there are some ideas that I have that surpass my level of technological knowledge. So I have engaged some experts to help overcome these knowledge gaps. And these experts were my teenage son and daughter. My son in particular showed me how to edit a video and how easy it all is.
It was one of those intergenerational learning experiences where the younger generation was teaching the older generation. It was an experience where I had to put ego aside and learn, as I did not know best in this case. I had to acknowledge that I had a knowledge gap. I also had to acknowledge that my son that is less than half my age was the one with the answers.
So after first acknowledging that I had a knowledge gap, I then secondly had to acknowledge that my son had the answers. These two steps set me up for the third step of learning. I was able to put aside the ego and absorb the information that my son was sharing with me. It was good information and it was easier than I though in the end.
Though it turned out to be easy, it would not have been without the guidance and teaching from my son. He knew exactly what to do. It would have taken me so long to learn without him. So thank you to my son… I appreciate your help in learning about making videos and audios. I hope that I was not too troublesome to teach.
After over 18 months of army training in other field training areas further away from my home location, yesterday, I was out on the range locally near where I live. I was only out for the day, but it is always good to get out in nature. There is something energising about being in nature, seeing the trees, listening to the birds and soaking it all up.
It is most likely the last time time I will be in the field with the army for a while. Next year as I get posted to Staff College I will not be in the field at all and then after that it will depend on the posting I get whether I get to get out in the field much. So as I reflect on this time of transition I also reflect on the last five years in my current role.
I do believe that I have had a positive influence on the Squadron. I believe that the Squadron has achieved and done some great things in the last 5 years. At the same time I have been there longer than one should be in the position. An army posting is usually two to three years. So by being in the role for longer I have also created some unintended consequences.
As all people do, I have blind spots and weaknesses. By being in the role for too long these weaknesses can develop into the culture of the organisation that you are leading. In my case I constantly review our culture and what we do. I involve the key staff of the organisation so that I can develop a broader point of view.
Yesterday, I became clear to me that over the last 12 months as the tempo for the Squadron picked up, I took on a more high profile role of communication with the soldiers. I was there to let them know what is happening and to answer questions. Then as that tempo dropped off, I have focused my efforts more on preparing the Squadron for handover rather than the continuing communication with soldiers.
This has resulted in a drop off in the communications to and from the soldiers. And yes has had an impact on attendance and morale. So my love for talking with people and communication has pushed out of the way the people whose role it was to do this communication for that 12 month period of time and now I am dealing with the consequences.
I am glad to have had the space to reflect while out field on the situation and I have about two months to put in place a fix before my departure to my new role. Yesterday’s, lesson to me is to constantly take the time and space to critically reflect on what you are doing, how you are doing it and what are the actually consequences. I have also found that involving your key stakeholders in the process creates a better critical reflection and review for myself.
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Well it has been a week since I walked out the door for the last time at Communities@Work. The original plan was to spend the week with my children that were on school holidays, then the following week (next week) catch up on some army work and then take a few weeks to work out what my next adventure will be.
Like all good plans, it has not gone exactly as planned and it is all good. Yes, I have spend most of the week with my children that are on school holidays. Where the plan has changed is that I have started the catching up on army work and future plans have started to become clearer already. Within days of leaving Communities@Work my mind has started down a path of discovery and possibility.
Though my thought bubbles are still a work in progress, what I do know is that being in business for myself is what I am meant to be doing. I am still working through the what and how. I have already started talking with potential clients and partners. I have even done a small consultanting job this week. It is exciting times ahead as I develop the plan for the future.
What I have found interesting has been how different it has been to have the space to think. By not being limited in anyway and just allowing the mind to think I have thought about so many exciting things to do for the future. And this has not just been a broad brain dump. My mind has also been structuring these thoughts into actionable parts.
I encourage you all to take the time and allow your mind to think about possibilities. It has led me to new inspirations and helped me find ways that I can get there. The power of the mind is amazing….. I just need to once in awhile allow my mind the freedom to wander in order to release my mind’s power.
Over a decade ago I was managing the Paddy Pallin store in Jindabyne. Paddy Pallin is an outdoor adventure store which sells clothing, outdoor gear and also hires skis. Jindabyne is a small town in Australia just prior to two of NSW’s biggest ski fields. Winter is a busy time for the store, as the ski session brings in a lot of business.
When I started at Paddy Pallin I was offered by to come to Sydney to see to see the manufacturing and warehouses for some of the different lines that the store sold. So I went to Sydney to talk with head office and see some of the manufacturing and warehousing. While travelling through the warehouse I was shown different products and educated about what was available.
I do not remember much of the discussions had that day, however there is one thing that I have not forgotten. It was a pair of expensive socks. It was a silk wool blend. At the time I thought they were overpriced, but was told that they are worth it. In the end the supplier gave me a pair for personal use.
Why would you give away your product for free? Well as it turned out it was a great marketing investment. From the first time I wore them I loved them. they were comfortable and warm… Warm is important in winter when you live in the snowy mountains as I did at the time.
Also in winter I would have people, after a day at the snow, come into the shop and ask me for warm socks…. They would say “my feet are frozen, can you help?” Without a doubt I would reply “Yes, I have a solution, but it is not cheap.” If at that point they said “I don’t care, my feet are frozen” I knew I had a sale. When they looked at the price they would ask me if they really worked…. I would just lift up the bottom of my pants and show them I was wearing them. Instantly a sale.
So in reality the free pair of socks was a great marketing investment for the supplier. I sold all the socks they could provide me. I had very happy customers and it was win win all around. So next time you are looking to sell or promote something (including an idea), who can you partner with to get the reach you need to be successful?
his week I had a good discussion with Louis who is a Police Officer in the USA who also does some Leadership and Adaptive Systems Consulting. It was interesting to talk with him about certain concepts used within policing and the military. We discussed how these concepts used by the police and military in planning and decision making can be applied in the private sector.
The conversation started out talking about the OODA loop, which is an adaptive decision making process that come about during the Korean War. However the conversation turned to range of topics including the way leadership, planning, decision making and risk management occurs in the police force and the military.
One of my takeaways from the conversation was that there are different operating environments, some are controlled and linear. The controlled linear environment is one where the outcomes are predictable and the processes are step by step. An example for this would be a financial process within an organisation, where it is easy to document the way money is received, banked and accounted for. It is a very predictable process and can be outlined in a step by step fashion.
However there is an environment that is not so controlled and there are so many outcomes that it would be hard to predict what is going to happen. In this sort of environment it would be very difficult to provide detailed business processes to outline what to do and the “if this then that” for each possible outcome. For example there are plenty of possible outcomes to your dealings with a customer and you would not want to completely treat them as a robot in a step by step fashion.
So if it is impossible to provide detailed business processes for every possible outcome what do you do to lead and make decisions? I would propose that you manage by principles, rather than by detailed business processes. As a leader with a Vision, Mission and Values you can ensure that the selected course of action is in accordance with your principles.
In this way the customer is served in by a staff member in a way that this consistent with your organisation’s vision, mission and values. There may be a broad business process covering the dealings with the customer,however these business processes allows room for the staff member to meet the needs of a customer in a way consistent with the organisation’s principles.
I must admit that I thought that that meditation was a bit airy fairy. However I keep hearing how good it was for the mind, body and soul. So, even though I was skeptical and not really sure what guided meditation was going to do for me, I gave it a go. Like most things that are good for me, I am a convert from skeptic to evangelist.
So what are the benefits? Well, I am the sort of person that has my mind travelling at a million miles an hour. It never stops. This impacts on concentration and sleep. My mind is always busy and active. This has in the past led to waking up in the morning more tired than going to bed. It also has meant it is sometimes hard to focus on the discussion in front of me as my mind is taking me on another adventure at the same time.
Though I am not using guided meditation daily, I am using it on a regular basis. I tried the Headspace App and it did not really gel for me and I tired the Calm App and it really lived up to it’s name. I find that after completing a guided meditation even for 2 or 5 minutes my head is clear, my mind is sharp and my body is relaxed.
Recently I have been involved with some meetings that were not the most pleasant to be in. Before these meetings I used the Calm App for a quick two minute guided meditation and before you know it, I was relaxed walking into the meeting and very sharp in the way my mind responded to issues raised in the meeting.
Another concern I had was whether I was able to sit still for 2, 5 or 10 minutes to do a guided mediation. Those that know me, know that sitting still is not something I do well. However there is something about a guided meditation that has me relaxed and able to sit there for the required time. In fact the guided meditation is over before I realise it most of the time.
Well, all I can say in summary is try guided meditation, give it a go. Find the way that works best for you. I know there is a lot more for me to discover about guided meditation and my journey has only just begun.
Recently, with the life changes I have made some people have said I am brave. They have gone on to say that would be too fearful to make the decision I have made… They ask me if I am scared or have fear? It seems to some people to be brave is to be fearless, however I do not believe this to be the case. Brave is defined as “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage”.
To me to be brave means to be scared, fearful and yet still move forward in the direction that you are meant to. If we are fearless, then we are going to do some pretty dumb things. Being fearful keeps us alive, but it should not hold us back. It is our internal risk management radar evaluating the actions we are about to take.
To this end we need to look at the opportunities ahead, mitigate the risks and move forward in the right direction. The direction towards our dreams. Yes, you will be scared and yes you will be fearful and yes there are risks. And yes at times we will fail, however the feeling of doing something will outweigh the regret of not trying.
- Have you experienced fear in something?
- Have you been scared to do something?
- How you done it anyway?
If you answered “Yes” to the questions above then you are brave. It does not matter whether it was a success or failure. The act of doing something you were scared or fearful of means you are brave. And being brave once, means that you can be brave again….. What is the next thing that you are going to be brave with?
I recently left an organisation that I was doing a couple of projects for. As I left I reflected on the goals I had set for myself. How did this role fit into the bigger plan for my life and also where I was in terms of other parts of my life. It struck me how though the exit was not the exact time I had planned it was in fact in accordance with the goals I had set myself.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love leadership roles where I get to develop those that work with me. I love to combine leadership with operational type areas where external stakeholders and clients are impacted in positive ways. This combination gets me excited and enthused.
In terms of my life I have been in this type of role in my Army Reserve job. I have been blessed in this area to have been in sub-unit command for the last five years. The last financial year in particular it was awesome to be selected to be in this role for a major set of Exercises. However this role is coming to an end and I am off to new adventures in my Army Reserve career.
So in terms of the big picture the scene is set for my life to move, in my civilian job, from a back office role. However I need to think about how I want to do this… Do I want to start my own business and build the organisation and culture? Or do I want to take on a senior leadership role in an existing organisation? Decisions to be made. Over the weekend talking with my wife, it seems that my own business may be the best way forward.
However to do this requires resources. One needs to have the funds to support themselves, their families and their business as they build up a client base. To this end there is funds required to achieve this. However, I had set savings goals earlier in the year to ensure that I would have the funds to start my own business if that was my decision.
So in summary I had set a number of goals for myself before I was to move on from my role, in which I just left from:
- Pay off all debts except the house
- Develop a solid savings target
- Finish projects in the role
- Finish up my current Army Role
So how did I go. Debts paid off in the last financial year. Savings hit the target two weeks prior to finishing up. Projects are just about complete and I have only three months left in my current Army role and I am about to start preparing things for handover.
The key thing is that I had not even realised that I had achieved the goals I had set. I had just developed the habits to move in that direction and as decisions had to be made I following the path that headed in the direction of my goals. This is the power of goals.