Investing in the Future

 

  • What is the difference between short term and long term?
  • Who do you want to be in the future?
  • What are some sacrifices that you may need to make today?

 

These are all important questions for us all. Stephen Covey talks about “beginning with the end in mind”, while in the army we call it “endstate”. I often reflect on who I want to be and what I would like to do… When I do this it gives me a clear picture of where I am going. With this future vision for myself I am able to compare where I am and what I need to do to grow and develop.

So with an idea of who, what, where, when and why in the long term I am able to then look at what I am required to do to get there. And yes this requires investment. Investment in time, money and effort. Short term sacrifices for long term gain. Investment into one’s self is very important, just as investment into one’s financial future.

In recent times I have been attending more workshops and networking functions. Both of these have cost me in terms of time, money and effort. However this investment in myself and my future has led to a greater leadership mindset for myself, more connections and has expanded my knowledge base.

 

  • Who is it that you want to become in the future?
  • What ways can you invest in yourself to become who you want to be?

 

 

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Do you have an Entitlement Mentality?

          An entitlement mentality is a state of mind in which an individual comes to believe that privileges are instead rights, and that they are to be expected as a matter of course.

My belief is that the world has experienced an amazing time of growth and economic development over the last fifty plus years. Most people alive in Australia today have not experienced a Depression in the economy. This is a fantastic achievement for the nation and overall a good thing. However there is a down side. This is that people’s expectations have changed.

For the people that experienced the Depression they are grateful for the economic growth. They understand that when things get hard we need to get in and work hard. The depression also developed people that understand that they needed to do what it takes and no one is there to look after you. Though there is some people that still believe that they are responsible for their development and success, there are the others….

These others have what I call entitlement mentality. They believe that they should be looked after. They believe that others are to be blamed when things go wrong and they believe that it is their right to have the government and others to look after them. If this is your belief, I would like you challenge you to empower yourself and know that you have the ability to change your life for the better. You have the power within to be successful and develop.

How you say….. Here is some hints:

  1. Be grateful for what you have.
  2. Be willing to do work that you may consider below you.
  3. Look and take advantage of opportunities to grow and develop yourself.

Time to Catch up with Family

I was fortunate today to have a relaxing morning catching up with a Cousin of mine. We do not see much of each other and it has been forever since I have seen her children. This is my fault as I get caught up in work and projects. I end up being so busy that I neglect the people around me, like extended family and friends. So this morning was a nice change to my busy schedule and spend some time with extended family and friends.

I know, you must be thinking that my life must be quite sad if I do not prioritise time with my extended family and friends. To a point I would agree with you. I think that I should spend more time extended family and friends. The flip side is that I also am chasing down a lot of things in my life and as we know, time is the most limited resource we have. The question is what is the balance that you want in your life?

 

  • So what is the balance that you want in your life between family & friends and achieving in your professional life?
  • Are you at this level of balance?
  • What can you do to bring your life closer to this balance?

 

 

Flowers Lit Up

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Tonight for the first time I attended Floriade’s Nightfest in Canberra. Floriade is Canberra’s annual flower show and it is a big one. During the festival for five nights they have what is called Nightfest. It is the flowers lit up in different ways for the evening. There is also a number of entertainers performing. Okay, I may not be the biggest flower lover, but it was good to see what Nightfest is all about.

In my opinion the most amazing entertainment was the fire eating, violin playing couple. They had everyone’s attention for the whole act. It was empress to see them perform. The other amazing part tonight in my opinion was the part where there was big blow up flowers that changed colour to the music playing. There was a large crowd of people standing around watching this….

Good festival Canberra….

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Cutting up the Credit Cards

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I regularly listen to the Dave Ramsey Podcast about getting out of debt and staying out of debt. In doing so I had the lesson rub off a little on me. It is funny how my life has gone a full circle in the last twenty years. Twenty years ago I was debt free. My thoughts back then was to avoid debts at all costs. Over time things changed and not for the better. I allowed people to influence me and took out a credit card to earn loyalty points…

Then a few years later I took out a mortgage and bought a home. Three homes later I ended up with credit cards, personal loan, car loan, student loan and a mortgage… A long way from the twenty year old me with no debt and not wanting any debt. So the Dave Ramsey podcasts came at the right time for me… First step was to stop borrowing money. This included cash flowing my Masters Degree that I was part way through. The next step was to start paying off the debt.

About a month ago I had the honour to ring up the bank and cancel my credit cards. It was interesting to see how banks suck us in. At the time I hand gold credit cards, though on the day I cancelled the cards I discovered that they sent me Platinum cards. So nice to know that I am loved and they upgraded me….Not! Even on the phone the gentleman from the bank could not understand my reason of “I do not need them, anymore:. He’s only response was “but you’ve had them so long.”

As I review my situation now, I realise I am not financially at the same point as I was at age twenty, however my mindset is back there again… “I will pay off all the debt and stay out of debt.” Even though I still have lots of debt, with a good amount of it paid off I do have a greater sense of peace and relief…

 

  • Have you paid off your debts in the past?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • What would it be like to have no Debt?

 

 

Performance Management or Performance Leadership?

Last month I attended a training session called “the psychology of performance” presented by Dr Samantha Johnson. The session was run by the Australian Institute of Management. It was a good session on performance in the workplace and ways to improve workplace performance. Dr Johnson challenged us to think of performance as an attribute of leadership, rather than of management.

What do you think of when you hear the words performance management?

My experience with the words of performance management is that they have been hijacked by what I would refer to “management of underperformance”. This is unfortunate, as I believe that there is so much to be gained from having processes and practices in place to grow or improve performance. I am going to assume that we all want to improve our performance and the performance of our teams. If this is the case then what can we do to improve performance?

Most organisations performance management systems are more a measurement of competency rather than a measurement of performance. Competency is important, however true performance Dr Johnson would argue comes from a staff members commitment. The highest committed staff are the ones that want to be there, while commitment levels go down to those staff that are just there for a pay cheque.

Dr Johnson talked about leadership as leading people effectively, while management as doing things efficiently. So when dealing with people we should be effective, rather than efficient. So how does this impact performance? As previously discussed commitment plays a significant part of staff performance levels. What drives commitment then? Dr Johnson argues, as do I, Leadership…

 

  • Do you agree or disagree that commitment levels play a significant part of performance?
  • Do you agree or disagree that leadership drives commitment?
  • What can we do to improve leadership, leading to higher commitment for staff and driving up performance?

 

 

Everyone is Special

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Tonight I watched the Lego Movie for the first time… It was a good movie with so many great messages. As a watched it I really enjoyed the message that everyone is special. I do believe that each of us is special and has something to offer society. So many times we tend to judge people by what they do…. I think that each is special with what we have inside. We just need to believe and let it out.

I also found it interesting the fight between the perfection of President Business and the individual inspiration of the Master Builders. Intertwined with this fight between perfection and inspiration was a fight between teamwork and individual thought. In this battle without giving away the whole movie, both in their extreme, neither side had the solution. In the end is a combination of inspiration and perfection, a combination of teamwork and individual thought.

Getting the balance right is hard to achieve and most organisations tend to move back and further between the two extremes. It is difficult to know how to integrate teamwork and individual thought, just as it is difficult to integrate perfection with inspiration. One of the keys to achieve this balance I believe lies with people. Recognising that everyone is special, while at the same time recognising you are special.

You will achieve greatness in your lifetime

This weekend while heading up to the Southern Highlands, we stopped in for Dinner at Marulan at the Chinese Restaurant. After the yummy dinner we were offered fortune cookies…. I always look forward to the fortune cookies. The are sweet and yummy….Okay, they are not in accordance to my normal diet, but hey once in a while it is yummy.

In the cookie was my “fortune”….. It read “You will achieve greatness in your lifetime”. As I read it I had to laugh, by this time I was sitting in the car getting ready to finish the rest of the journey. The little laugh was because I believe this message to be true for all. Yes for all!!! I think it is ourselves that get in the way of our own greatness.

So what is greatness?

One definition is the quality of being great; eminence or distinction. To me this means that you can be great by focusing on your talents. We all have talents and passions in our life. For me it has been a journey to find these talents and passions over my lifetime… Now it is time to take these talents and passions to reality and greatness.

But, what holds us back?

I know for me some of the things that hold me back are:

  • concerns about my reputation if I failure
  • financial pressures in raising a family
  • discomfort in taking a new direction
  • doing good things rather than great things

But in reality the list above are all personal concerns that I can overcome. By following my talents and passions I too can achieve greatness in my lifetime….

 

  • Are you going to achieve greatness in your lifetime?
  • What is holding you back?
  • What are your talents and passions?

 

 

Taking Time for Oneself

 

  • Are you always running around?
  • Do you spend all your time with others?
  • When is the last time you had time to think?

 

If you are like me you have packed more into your life than there is time to do it all. One of the things I find from packing in so much is that I often prioritise time for myself last. This means that I lack the time to learn, reflect and plan. This can frustrate me at times. I think that often in leadership roles we want to be there to serve our people and hence are there for our people. This combined with family and other responsibilities can often lead me to a point where I lack time to digest what is happening and where I am going.

 

  • So what do you do to get time for yourself in your busy schedule?

 

I know I have a number of things that I do to get time for myself. These include:

  • Blocking time in my schedule
  • Going for a run
  • Read from a book
  • Try to get some planning work done before people arrive in the office

First Time Nerves

Today my son did his Tae Kwon Do grading to go from white belt to yellow belt. It was good to watch all the trainees as they were going for the next belt all the way up to black belt second dan. The master instructor was good with all the trainees and very fair. There was one topic of discussion that I did find very interesting…. He let all the white belts know that though they are nervous, so are those going for their black belt.

It was a good message to give. Being nervous is a normal reaction and not something that should concern us. Whenever we are going to be assessed, having a new experience or not in our comfort zone then being nervous is normal. So if being nervous is normal, how can we channel our nerves into a positive outcome?

 

  • What have you been nervous about?
  • In what ways do you channel or overcome your nerves?
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