Motivational Monday #46 Creative Evolution

Blind future

Motivational Monday #46 Creative Evolution

The future belongs to those who fuse intelligence with faith, and who with courage and determination grope their way forward from chance to choice, from blind adaptation to creative evolution.

Charles Merriam

The truth of course is that we are all blind when it comes to what will happen in the future but despite that I believe it pays to consider where we are going in the light of experience and to apply our best intelligence and faith to our future endeavours.

We are approaching a new year and it can be tempting in the New Year to simply do more of what we have done before but I think we can do better than that.

The Christmas break gives us an opportunity to take a breather and consider where we might go and what we might do next year. The only certainty about 2013 is that it will be different from 2012 and with that in mind I think a clever person would take the time now to consider their options for next year.

Some of what you do in your business, and personal lives at the moment has probably arisen in response to events in 2012. What is interesting is that it might be the case that some of those actions hold the key to a positive 2013. With proper consideration you might be able to move from, as Charles Merriam put it “blind adaptation to creative evolution”.

As an example consider the following questions …

What work or personal habits have you adopted in 2012 that could be refined and improved to create an even better return in 2013?

What has your company done to survive in 2012 that could be developed further through the application of greater resources?

What did you do as a family in 2012 that brought you closer and how could you do more of that in 2013?

Examples only – I am sure you can come up with more pertainent questions for yourself. My point today is that it might well be worth taking some time out over Christmas and considering such things.

We might be blind going into the future but with forethought and an optimistic faith that the best is yet to come we can walk forward confidently.

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

Photo credit – from the talented Cathleen Tarawhiti and used with thanks.

 

Motivational Monday #45 The Beginning

Massage table

Motivational Monday #45 The Beginning

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

Louis L’Amour

I’ve just spent the day helping my wife move her sports massage and homeopathy business to new premises in Selby centre.  As we were moving her belongings we got to talking about the various stages in her journey as a health professional.

After graduating from the British School of Homeopathy, after four years of study, it seemed that her path was set and homeopathy was to be her service offering. And it was for a couple of years.

But then she began to feel that homeopathy whilst powerful for many ailments failed to have an impact where a person had something physically out of alignment.

This led her to investigate massage, osteopathy and chiropractic therapies. She opted for the sports massage route and after lengthy study and more qualifications she has spent the last few years combining her knowledge to provide both sports massage and homeopathic assistance to her clients.

Operating from fairly small offices these last two years it has been a key ambition to move to a better location and larger premises. Having today joined a bigger medical practice Selby Osteopaths it’s a major goal achieved but already she has plans to learn some additional massage techniques.

So today’s move even though it’s been a long-awaited event and much desired isn’t the end of the story it’s really only the beginning. It’s an opportunity to win new clients, build a bigger business and most importantly of all experience new things.

As we were talking today it became clear to us that at each point in her journey where it had seemed things had reached their peak that peak was simply a precursor for something else. Each peak created a base line for something bigger and better to be worked towards.

Additionally we had the realisation that one of the things that had contributed to her success was the importance of treating each stage as an end in itself whilst also holding on to the awareness that it was simply part of the journey.

So as she learnt a new skill or opened a new office it was important to perfect that knowledge or strive to make that particular office as successful as possible whilst all the time keeping the knowledge in the back of her head that she would be moving on from it in the future.

And when I think of the companies and individuals that I have worked with over the years it’s the ones who have both maximised each stage of their development and kept an eye on the future who have succeeded. I’ve seen many people, and companies, be successful in the short-term but because they lacked a long-term perspective they failed.

I think it’s vital that we strive to provide the best services we can where we are right now but always with the thought of what else can we do, what else can we learn and where can what we are doing now take us to in the future. That’s the mind-set of success.

So for my wife today the new office with its new carpet smell, freshly painted walls and new lighting might seem like the end of her journey but I know she realises that it’s really only the beginning of the next phase of her success.

Chloe Hart Footer

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

Motivational Monday #44 Everything you want in life

Mississippi Flag

Motivational Monday #44 Everything you want in life

You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was one of the giants of the personal development field. Internationally read and listened to his work has helped transform the lives of millions of people. 

A humble man he never took on airs and graces but spoke from the heart with humility, compassion and an understanding that we all want to be more than we are and that in all of us there is a child who wants their dreams to come true.

Ziglar might have passed away last week but his work, wit and wisdom are still with us. The quote above summed up his philosophy and was in many ways his tag line.

I was first introduced to it eight years ago at the start of my full time training career when I was listening to Ziglar’s sales training material to add to my personal experience and knowledge. I remember initially thinking that it was a quote that worked well for a trainer or personal development professional but was less relevant to people in other disciplines.

Over the years I have realised how wrong my initial thoughts had been and that of all the quotes, wisdom and pieces of advice that I’ve seen over the years Ziglar has perhaps put his finger on the heart of the matter better than anyone else.

I now struggle to think of a situation where by helping those around use we don’t advance our own dreams. From owners of businesses to receptionists, from headmasters to pupils surely everyone benefits by helping those people around them?

The press will have you believe that we live in a desensitised world full of selfish materialistic people. And I’d agree that there are forces and pressures in society today that work towards that end but we all have a choice. We can work towards our own goals selfishly and with no regard for others or we can work towards our goals through other people.

I suppose it’s the difference between building a life on the backs of others or side by side with others.

Oh I know that you can achieve a certain success by exploiting other people but you get a better quality of success if you do it by helping other people.

Last week when the news broke that Ziglar had died there was an outpouring of sadness, love and regret on the internet. Thousands of people shared how much he had meant to them and how he had helped them get more of what they want. And indeed this Motivational Monday is my nod of thanks to Ziglar and all he has done for me.

He was a great man, a devoted husband and a loving father and he practiced what he preached to the end.

I can think of no better way to end this article than to ask you to reread his quote with but one thought in mind – how can I apply this to my life?

You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

Zig Ziglar (1926 – 2012)

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com

Flag image from www.freestock.ca – a free image site well worth checking out

 

Motivational Monday #43 Create Your Future

Motivational Monday #43 Create Your Future

What matters is to live in the present, live now, for every moment is now. It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future. The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its pattern by your past.

Sai Baba of Shivdi

When I first read the above quote I thought it was contradictory. It seemed to be first saying that you create your future by your current actions and then saying that your future path already exists.

I’m very happy to agree with the first thought but I’d argue against the second point until the end of days. Then I realised that Sai Baba was being subtle and that I was being too single minded.

Taking his second point first it’s true that what happens next in your life has probably been set in motion by your previous actions.

As an easy example take a look around you right now and consider that how the people around you will react to you when you approach them next will be strongly influenced by how you have interacted with them before.

This sort of makes everything sound like a done deal which is something I can’t accept but that’s where the subtlety of what Sai Baba was saying comes into play.

How those people around you will react on the next occasion will be influenced by the past but also directly influenced by your actions now.

It can often seem that the path ahead is unchangeable but I think that’s because the accumulation of our past actions can cast a heavy shadow. We might have seen the light and be doing things differently now but very often people react to us as they expected us to act rather than as we actually have acted.

And often that can stifle any changes we are trying to make. After all if you make the effort to change and everyone just treats you the same then why bother? Isn’t that how the thinking goes?

And that’s a dangerous mental trap because if you accept that then you have no incentive to change so you probably won’t.

So we need to expect to be treated as the ‘old us’ until the ‘new us’ becomes the ‘normal us’ – in that person’s perceptions.

This is not a new challenge and although I’m not sure what the bible has to say about his friend’s reactions after Saint Paul had his epiphany on the road to Damascus  I can only imagine it took them a while to get used to the new him.

So what I now see in Sai Baba’s words is not contradiction but hope.

A hope that says that no matter what directions our past actions are taking us in we have the power to, right now, make changes which will take us to a new and brighter future.

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

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Motivational Monday #42 Power to do good things

Motivational Monday #42 Power to do good things

Power is the ability to do good things for other people.

Brooke Astor

There comes a point in my management training course when I present the five areas of power that we all have. These are:

  • Positional
  • Personal
  • Expert
  • Information
  • Relationship

I present the areas of power and then the delegates discuss and work through a series of exercises relating to both their personal power points and those of their colleagues.

It’s a very powerful section of the training and I think one of the things that makes it so powerful is that the principles that are presented and studied are as applicable outside work as they are inside.

So when I train I break power down into different aspects and attributes but Brooke Astor gives us a nice summary of what its ultimate use should be – to do good things.

It is typical to think of power as a domineering force that only has a place in business yet that misses out so much.

Everyone of us, every day, has the power to make the lives of those people around us better. From strangers we might pass in the street to the most intimate friends and family we always have the power to make things better for them.

We can manifest this power through making positive choices. Choices like listening more carefully, being more considerate of other people’s feelings or simply giving people more time. There are an infinite number of small ways that we can use our positive power on a daily basis.

What it comes down to is us realising that we have this power, that it is part of us and then making a choice to use it positively.

We might not have super strength or the ability to leap tall buildings but by apply our natural ability to make things better for other people each one of us in our own way can become a superhero.

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

 

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Motivational Monday #41 Awaken

Picture of a sleeping tiger

Motivational Monday #41 Awaken

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”
Marcus Aurelius

Typically we live in an imperfect world. A world where things are not quite right and we want things to be different. 

Everyone’s main area of dissatisfaction lies in a different area of their lives whether that be work, home or relationships. The truth though, is that most people would make changes in every area of their lives.

So how has this come to be? How is it that pretty much all of us would have things be different in all the areas of our lives?

I think that there are two deep truths about this. The first is that things aren’t as we want them to be because we have let them become as they are.

We have allowed things to develop in directions that we don’t really like sometimes through active neglect but more often by quiet acceptance.

Think about a relationship that you have at the moment that is not what you want it to be. Whether this is with a colleague, friend or family member can you think back and remember when it started to head in the wrong direction?

Very typically it bothered you a little and you thought about it in your head for a while and maybe you eventually spoke to someone else about it. (It’s the usual thing to go home and complain to your partner about people at work after all!)

But after that stage did you take active steps to change things or did you start to accept it as the normal state of the relationship? Perhaps chalking it up to ‘oh that’s just how they are’.

The problem with that approach is that it allows a situation that you don’t like to become the routine and whilst it might not bother you a lot it is going to bother you continually for as long as you know that other person.

And that’s just one example. Repeat that quiet acceptance of things through all the areas of your life and suddenly you have a life full of minor niggles that grate.

The second truth, and perhaps the biggest one, about this is that often that quiet acceptance is so subconscious that we don’t realise we have accepted things until afterwards.

And the problem with that is that often the thing that you would change becomes the normal state of affairs for a period of time long enough for you to feel obliged to accept it.

In those situations in our lives we can often feel powerless to change things and I suspect we all have many of these situations in our lives.

So the thing to do is to find the power to make the choice to change things and then turn that choice into action.

And that’s where the thought from Marcus Aurelius come in. Look inside your and consider what your inner strengths are. And do that with the expectation that you do have strengths. Specifically strengths that you can use to change the situation you are dissatisfied with.

If many of the situations that you would change have arisen simply because you quietly accepted them in the first place then in some cases changing them is simply a case of you stepping forward and saying “Stop. Let’s do something different.”

Realising your inner strengths gives you the power to take that step.

I believe we are all innately powerful and that we simply forget or overlook our personal strengths which leads us to the mistakenly thing we are powerless.

Instead of feeling powerless consider yourself a sleeping tiger. Awaken and make the changes you want to see in your life.

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart

Original photo from http://jayandsierra.deviantart.com/ used with thanks

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Motivational Monday #40 Excellence

Motivational Monday #40 Excellence

“Excellence is in the details.

Give attention to the details and excellence will come.”

Perry Paxton

My eldest son recently celebrated his fourteenth birthday. This year in discussions prior to his birthday it became clear that there was a single gift that he wanted more than anything else.

Now the challenge was that it was over the budget, slightly, and that meant that should I over reach the budget and get him this gift he wouldn’t get anything else.

As we take our family budgets serious my wife and I talked about this and finally we decided to extend things and get the single gift. There really wasn’t anything that he wanted as much and it seemed very likely that he would really like it.

What worried us was that within the family no one has ever had only one gift. Everyone has always had the traditional collection of items. So our concern was that it would seem a bit minimal.

Giving it some thought we decided to wrap the gift (a war gaming set from Games Workshop in case you were wondering) in entirely inappropriate, and contradictory, Hello Kitty birthday paper. (Hello Kitty being suitable for 6 year old girls and not 14 year old boys in case you didn’t know.)

There was a private joke within the family about Hello Kitty and we knew my son would be suitable shocked and slightly embarrassed (in a good way) by the wrapping paper!

On the morning he opened his gift I presented it to him wrapped inside a black cover which I pulled off at the last minute to dramatically reveal the Hello Kitty paper … it’s fair to say he was suitable shocked!

After that he opened it and at that point we pretty much lost contact with him as he dove into the depths of the gift and minutely looked over every piece of gaming kit for quite some time.

He told me later that his birthday celebrations had been “excellent” and that the gift giving was something he would remember for a long time. He was more than content with the one gift..

So one gift worked just fine but I don’t think it was just the gift that made things excellent. It was my wife’s idea to use the wrapping paper and mine to dramatically reveal the paper. It was the birthday breakfast my wife had cooked and the home-made cake she had baked. It was the family games we all played and the film we all watched to round off the day. And each of those items had been chosen with specific care.

In other words it was the details that made it special.

Even down to the gift that my son got – it was the detail of the figures and the quality of the gaming set that he talked about for days afterwards. Time and effort had gone into creating a good product and because he spent his time looking at the details of it he gained an enormous amount of pleasure from it.

And that’s the point I really want to share today – paying attention to the details in life is a very powerful way to create a better life for ourselves and for those around us.

We have a habit of saving such attention to detail to key points in our life – interviews, birthdays, weddings, client meetings etc. But how powerful would it be to live like that normally?

Yes it takes a little more time and effort but when you start to look at the details of what you are going to do for someone else it has been my experience that it frequently becomes quite simple to increase the impact of what you are doing.

It’s often not about doing something extra or something new but rather doing what you would have done anyway just in a slightly different way.

Think of the difference this could make to the people you work with and to the experience your customers and clients have from you. All by making one change – focusing on more of the details.

And why limit your new focus on detail to other people?

Think about yourself and your life. What are you planning to do today for yourself that you could do with more attention to detail and thus get more out of it?

For example I’m guessing everyone reading this is going to have lunch or dinner at some point later on … what detail could you change to make it a more pleasurable experience for yourself?

Perry Paxton was right – give attention to the details and excellence will come.

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart

Hello Kitty is a trademark of  www.sanrio.com
Warhammer 40k is a trademark of www.games-workshop.com

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