I learned about Leading from: my 50th birthday!

Antony

It finally happened. My forties were fast coming to an end and I faced the transition into my fifties.  Actually I felt quite proud about my last 10 years and was looking forward to the opportunities and experiences that the next 10 will bring.

As I sat in the summer of last year with an injured ankle and a growing belly, I was also conscious of a promise I had made myself a couple of years earlier….


When I started work back in 1991, having recently graduated from university, I was on an Initial Training Course (ITC) with many lovely people and one particular friend, Roger. Over the years I kept in touch with Roger and many years later we ended up living very close to each other. Roger is a little bit older than me and when he reached his 50th I was blown away by how much fitter and in better shape he was than when I knew him in his mid-20’s!  I told myself, and Roger, that this was what I was going to do also…but as I sat on the sunbed, with a non-working ankle I was worried that my dream was slipping away.

Not one to be deterred by extra hurdles, I spoke with a personal trainer I had met a few years earlier. Tom (the PT) now worked with his wife, Jess, a nutritionist, to give a more holistic programme to clients and had a very tailored approach to helping individuals attain their goals.  In addition to getting into my “best shape ever” I also needed to get my running back to enable me to complete the 2019 London Marathon in April-19; this seemed miles away when I could hardly walk on my ankle!

antony milesSo began a programme of 3-4 weight circuits each week together with some dietary direction and rehabilitation therapy on my leg injury.  Every week I would have a video-call with Tom and Jess and we would check progress on all fronts and discuss what was working and not, then I would get a revised programme for the following week.  And so it continued, week after week.

Finally in December I could take my first steps back running.  3 miles became 6 miles and soon into 2019 I was into 9, 10 and then 13 miles. The ankle was working and, more to the point, the work I had been doing in my home gym had given me strength and conditioning that made the transition back into distant running a relatively painless path.  I was delighted, things were falling into place.

But what about my other goal…the “best shape ever”?

Well there had been some great progress but I thought I might follow a concept I heard from Simon Woodroffe once (the creator of Yo! Sushi) to “Make Failure Painful”.  I booked myself in for a professional photoshoot to record the shape my body was in the day prior to my 50th. Now there was no turning back and I was focused on my goal.  Tom and Jess turned up the dial on my training and nutrition plan and the challenge was simply unreal on some days, but I could see the weights rising, the muscles becoming more defined and my body measurements falling in to line. Let me be honest with you, I did not become a monk in this time!  I still drank alcohol on occasion and had a rather “large” day out with some of my best mates just a couple of days before the shoot!

On the day of the photoshoot I was completely overwhelmed by the results.  I did not look like me, but it really was me.  I hadn’t had photos done like this before and I was delighted to confirm that indeed, if not the “best shape ever”, I was certainly in better shape than before our wedding 25 years ago and this was definitely a massive goal achieved.

So why the blog and where’s the learning?

I think I have always felt that anything is possible when we approach it with an open mind and belief, and I have never been disappointed with this approach personally nor with individuals and teams that I have worked with over the years.  With my experience of the last few months this belief has been further enhanced by 4 key steps that I know can help all of us achieve our ambitions and become that person that deep down we have always known is there and that is to P.L.A.N.  Let me explain…

P = Proud – a few years back I was taught that we can live life Have-Do-Be or Be-Do-Have.  If we live Have–Do–Be then we seek to HAVE things that enable us to DO things that help us BE something (eg proud, happy, excited etc).  The problem with this is by the time we get there we are after the next thing, then the next etc.  It’s like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When we turn this on its head and realise that how we are BE-ing in the moment is simply a choice, so we assume this state first, then DO the things we need to do to get the things we want to HAVE…then we are far more successful and enjoy the journey, every step.  Very early on in my journey I connected to my feeling of being proud of all I have achieved and proud of my body.  My goal was not to get into this state, I connected with this every day and then did what I needed to do to get what I wanted to HAVE…the best shape ever.

L = Leadership – there is so much personal leadership and having the right state of mind in this journey but I also got myself a coach (or two!) to lead me with their insights, expertise and daily encouragement.  I can honestly say that Tom and Jess kept me on track and motivated to continue through the hard times and the cold winter mornings.  They know their stuff, took a huge weight of effort looking into how to do this or that and gave me the information and instruction I needed on a daily basis to just follow and “do” in order to get the results I desired.  “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so that you may become what you have always known you can be.” (Tom Landry)  Have you got a coach or mentor?

A = Accountability – there is only one person that could do this for me and that was ME!  No matter what anyone else said or did, at the end of the day, I had to get on and do it.  Accountability was obvious and I knew it.  No delegation.  No abdication and as my friend, and great coach, Andy Bailey says “there is no try! We either do or we don’t!”

N = Nail it!  You see the thing that strikes me is that both winners and losers have the same goals!  So what’s the difference and where do the different outcomes come from? In the book “Atomic Habits”, by James Clear, he proposes that the winners are much better at focusing on and carrying out the process to get there.  In other words, they stick to the plan.  They Nail it! Focus, effort and determination with no excuses.

…and that is what I have “Learned about Leading” from my 50th birthday experience.  The key to success with self and other is to PLAN:

    • P – connect with your “BE”
    • L – get yourself a coach or mentor (we have some great ones by the way, look here http://its-leadership.co.uk/its-us/)
    • A – embrace accountability
    • N – nail it with determination and dedication

…and the result…I thought you’d never ask…but some things we will keep to ourselves for now!! 😉

After all, iTS Leadership!

Warmly

Antony


PS: The aforementioned Jess and Tom would like to offer our readers a very special offer! For a complimentary 2-week introductory experience with Jess and Tom, email hello@jessntom.com with the code ‘iTS14’ and you will get a free taster of working with them. For further insights, look at www.jessntom.com 

Do ‘soft skills’ need a rebrand?

During an After Action Review (AAR) with a client recently, the subject of ‘soft skills’ came up and it’s been bothering me ever since. Why? Because it’s one of the greatest misnomers in business.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” ~ Peter Drucker

‘Soft’ is not the same as ‘easy’ and, in our experience, these skills are neither ‘easy’ nor commonplace, but are extremely valuable and essential for peak performance in any team or organisation.  Have you heard the term “culture eats strategy for breakfast?”  I need say no more….

Soft skills are arguably some of the most valuable traits and behaviours, which can take many years and much effort to master. Far more so, perhaps, than some so-called ‘hard skills’ taught in a more conventional classroom environment. Yet people persist in referring to them as soft, the implication being that they are somehow acquired more easily and are therefore insignificant and unimportant or even less valuable by comparison.

You may wonder why this matters.

Terminology counts because it sends a wider message and influences perception throughout organisations. In business, this also means it can and does affect decisions, commitment level and participation. It is often also detrimental to crucial areas such as investment, especially, in our experience, with less confident leaders.

We have seen how budget-holders can dismiss the need for financial investment if they suspect that it will be spent on soft skills. In a corporate environment where soft skills aren’t valued, employees may also consider them less desirable. After all, why bother developing such abilities if senior managers dismiss or ignore them?

Worst of all, it’s precisely those organisations where soft skills aren’t valued that they are most often needed!

In our experience, investment in the ‘soft skills’ of personal development, leadership and teamwork are proven to accelerate growth and underpin business, team and individual success. It also boosts employee engagement and retention.

Our mentoring and team facilitation programmes are precisely tailored to build and enhance invaluable ‘soft’ skills. Helping our clients to communicate and collaborate better, develop trust, solve problems and exceed expectations is the engine of their performance excellence.  These skills are rare and create exceptional leaders.

They may be thought of as soft, but the results produced by these nuanced, finely-tuned skills are hard evidence of success.

In my view, it’s high time that soft skills got a rebrand, to ensure their corporate capital is truly reflected in their name.  What do you think?

After all, iTS Leadership!

What do you want this Christmas?

Christmas, we are told, is a time of giving, but sadly I am finding of late, also a time of wanting.

Often children hanker after the latest gizmo whilst endless adverts seek to ignite our desire for a new sofa or smart TV, and with this so many children and adults start to say the words “I want…” or even “I need…” when in fact they don’t “need” but they do “want”!

Not just a desire for something new, wanting is also defined as a lack or deficiency; a hole in our lives that requires filling or to be satisfied with fulfilment.  The younger generation so desperate for the instant gratification in life that they get constantly from their electronic games!  I even recall my eldest having his first example of this as a 2-year-old when Barney the Dinosaur would call out “Good Job!” as he matched the noise with the right button on a mock lap-top!!

There was a quote this morning in my meditation which seems particularly resonant at this time of year: “It’s only in the absence of wanting that we find peace.”

But what does an “absence of wanting” really mean? I got to thinking that depending on your perspective, it could be considered positive or negative.

Some may believe it to be a sign of supressed cravings, denial or trying to accept that, for whatever reason, you can’t have something you truly desire.  Could it signal a lack of drive, a loss of impetus or even a case of giving up?

I prefer to interpret an absence of wanting as a sense of inner fulfilment. Not that there isn’t more to be achieved or improvements yet to be made, but that I have reached a point of recognition and acceptance. I have left no stone unturned and have got the best out of myself and others to reach this moment.

Life is certainly not about perfection – those of you that know me well will acknowledge this – but I believe it is about doing our best and recognising our own and others’ efforts. To reach a point where we are not found wanting is then to find peace. I also like to remember that “gratitude is the lubricant for a happy life”, so, especially at this time of year, I am mindful to be grateful for all that I have in my life, good and bad.

With Christmas just days away, maybe you can also take a moment to consider the benefits of an absence of wanting. Maybe together we can strip back our desires and let go of our wants, focusing instead on feelings of appreciation, acceptance and gratitude. I wonder what that could do for peace on earth and goodwill to all men?

Wishing you and your family and friends a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Most warmly

Antony

Why CARE is crucial to organisational performance

How can we increase the level of care within our team? As I’ve observed from personal experience lately, care is crucial to organisational performance, as well as making an important impact on people’s wellbeing.

I believe that both the concept and the reality of care matters in the workplace. Having recently spent time in hospital when my wife was admitted to an acute medical ward, I saw this in a very literal sense, but it’s clear that any organisation and team can benefit from taking more care. It prompts me to ponder:

    • What impact could higher levels of care have on an organisation’s results?
    • What impact does it have on people’s wellbeing?
    • How can we increase the level of care to benefit both people and their organisation?

More than ‘just a job’
During my wife’s hospital stay we met many doctors and nursing staff who displayed a wide range of behaviours and attitudes. It appalled me just how few of them demonstrated any care whatsoever. In many ways it felt that, for many, is was ‘just a job’ performed with automaton-like efficiency, with no inclination to ask a question, listen to patients’ concerns or show insight.

Perhaps the result of an organisation and team under extreme pressure, it was nonetheless as though each patient was on a production line. I was truly shocked and wondered how many mistakes must occur when there is so little engagement with ‘the client’.

 

What CARE really means
At the same time this was happening, Michael Neill published two new blogs about care and I began to ask myself what care really means. How can we help others to feel and act with care in their day-to-day work, whether in healthcare or beyond?

Mulling it over with my wife, we concluded there were four common characteristics shared by the true carers we’d encountered:

    • Connection – they took TIME to connect, to LISTEN with both their ears and their eyes. They asked questions and, in a relatively short time, understood what was happening and what to do next.
    • Authenticity – they had genuine FEELING for others and were not just going through the motions as part of a process.
    • Respect – they treated others as equals, as human beings (not human doings!), ADAPTING their behaviour to each individual’s needs
    • Energy – they had a positive energy about them and clearly wanted to do a good job. They had a smile on their face and a spring in their step. Because of the EFFORT they put in, they got more enjoyment out of every day

The benefits of greater CARE
My challenge to you is to think objectively about how well you and your team demonstrate CARE. I’m not sure how one could measure it, but if you could all improve your CARE by 10%, how could this impact on Profit and Smiles? According to one study, a caring and supportive work environment improved productivity by 12% and made employees happier. That’s quite some difference.

For our own part as Leadership Consultants, whether mentoring individuals or working with their teams, we become very attached to people and we care passionately about helping them achieve success. Our mission is to help them grow their Profit and Smiles and I’d like to think we do it with CARE: Connection + Authenticity + Respect + Energy.

Why storytelling is crucial for employee engagement

As leaders, it’s our job to ensure that goals we set for our team are not just achievable, but also exciting, meaningful and understandable. In the same way that storytelling enhances employee engagement, it seems to me that success lies in making stuff more fun than ANYTHING else they could be spending their time doing, otherwise you risk losing their focus and desire.

Lessons from a teenage son

This really hit home for me last weekend when I went away with my youngest son on a bonding trip to Norfolk. The original idea was to spend time together, have fun and get to know each other better.  We thought we’d go camping, but the goal of putting up a tent in the rain at 10pm didn’t sound exciting or fun, so we plumped for the glamping option of a hut instead.  Despite our late arrival, and the (disconcerting to a teenager) surroundings of fields, fields and more fields, things started well.  We had a shared giggle at the initial challenge of finding the right hut and then played a couple of convivial board games.

The true test of my leadership and engagement skills arrived on Saturday morning when we headed to the coast on our bikes.  Destination reached, I felt we’d achieved an important goal of spending quality time together, but from this point the journey was clearly less exciting for my son, who insistently wanted to know, “Where are we going now?”, “How long will it take?”, “Why are we going this way?”.

It was clear I’d lost his focus when his mobile phone came out. The need for continuous stimulation was high, yet the surrounding natural beauty and diversity clearly wasn’t hitting the spot. More than once I explained that life was about the journey and not the destination, but this was met with a huff and puff.  I was failing to tell a story which engaged him, the fun had gone, and we had lost sight of our shared goal.

Despite the mixed success of our trip, I will persevere.

Don’t give up!

The fact is, storytelling isn’t a one-time thing, it’s a continuous, repetitive process. To maintain engagement and achieve ongoing success, we must tell our story over and over and over again, finding new and interesting ways to sustain each team member’s enthusiasm and drive.

Four fail-safes

But how do you do this without it becoming boring, or tailing off into background noise?

  1. Find different ways to articulate and illustrate the story. Freshen up the delivery while the core message remains the same
  2. Involve your team in the story so they can own it too
  3. Keep checking back: is the message still clear, understandable and inspiring?
  4. Whatever you do, make it fun

I’d love to know your best storytelling tips for keeping your shared goals alive, so please comment below or tweet us @iTSLeadership.

Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce – Rule 10

I’ve recently read a small and inspirational book by Mac Anderson, called “212° Service; the 10 rules for creating a service culture”.  It’s a great short read full of useful stories and tips which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  But the reason for this blog is to share Rule 10 with you, as it is something that we come across week after week after week.

 

Often, in business, you may have worked with us, or someone else, to create an inspirational Vision statement, Values list, Essence (or purpose) Phrase and got very excited about it.  Maybe it’s been “launched” at a company conference and then, much to your astonishment, no one in the business seems to remember it 3, 6 or 9 months later!  Rule 10 in Mac’s book speaks to this very point and, if you’ve ever found yourself experiencing this, or if you’re planning on refreshing your vision statements soon then please read on….


Reproduced with kind permission of Mac Anderson:

RULE 10 – REINFORCE, REINFORCE, REINFORCE

I’m sure you’ve heard the three keys to purchasing real estate…location, location, location.  Well you’ll now hear the three keys to inspiring 212° Service…REINFORCE, REINFORCE, REINFORCE.

Many leaders in times of change grossly underestimate the need for continuous reinforcement.  In a perfect world, we hear something once, record it in our brain, and never need to hear it again.  But in reality, our world is far from perfect.  During a time of change we have doubts, fears and occasional disappointments.  Sometimes, there are friends, family and co-workers reinforcing those doubts saying, “it won’t work”.

Once the management team has signed off on the “change message”, the challenge is how you can keep it alive until the behaviour is consistent with your goals. UNDERSTAND ONE THING – IT WON’T HAPPEN ON ITS OWN.  You need to have a plan in place to make it happen.  Answering these three questions is a first step for success.

  • How do I keep it simple? Less is always more.
  • How can I make it memorable?
  • How many times can I communicate it, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis


To some, this may sound like simple, common sense stuff. But to do it right, it’s anything but simple.  It takes creative planning and input from everyone involved.  But, most of all, it takes tremendous discipline to keep the “train on the track”.  A lot of little things will make a big difference in convincing the team that you’re 100 percent committed to making a 212° Service culture happen.  So sweat the small stuff and remember…reinforce, reinforce, reinforce.


Several leaders I have spoken to simply “forget” that one of their key roles is “Chief Story Teller” and it is vital that they repeat the story (of the vision and values etc) every day and at the beginning of every meeting.  Some worry that they are becoming too repetitive or predictable or boring.  But I liken this to all the sales rep’s who tell marketing that they need a new sales aid because “my customers are bored of this one”, when in reality most of the customers have only seen it once or twice, but it’s the rep’ them self who is bored as they see it 6 times or more each day!

If you are a leader who is bored of your own message then challenge yourself with these two questions:-

  1. Have you got the right message or does it need reworking or refreshing?
  2. Do you have a variety of different ways of telling this story?

The answer to your challenge lies somewhere in your response to these questions.

Looking forwards, please care for your message and reinforce, reinforce and reinforce it wherever and whenever you can.  Be the Chief Story Teller for your business, because:

  • if not you, then who?
  • if not now, then when?

…and if you need any help, then please just give us a call.  We would love to help.

After all, iTS Leadership!

Warmly

Antony

If you would like to learn more about Mac Anderson or bring Mac to your organisation, please contact Southwestern Speakers at https://www.southwesternconsulting.com/speakers/

Also to take part in Mac’s Inspire Kindness Movement, go his website at https://inspirekindness.com/

 

 

What’s next?

With the new term now very much in full swing, the thoughts and attention of our kids (and some of us!) turn to “what next?”  My own kids are wondering what job they may wish to do when they leave university in the next couple of years and my youngest, what course he may like to study and at which university.  Several of my mentees are contemplating their next move on their career ladder with some thinking incremental and others radical steps.  That’s all good stuff and part of the ebb and flow of our life journey (and I love to help them get deep clarity with these situations).

However, I do find that so very often these times can be overwhelming and confusing.  We don’t know what we don’t know and we can fall into a cacophony of fear; fear of making a wrong choice, of getting it wrong, of the pain caused by bad decisions, about missing out on something better etc etc etc.

There are three things I know to be true:-

  1. Things are clearer with a calm mind– go for a walk and let the snow-globe of your mind settle and then take a look and see what you see now
  2. The view changes with each step we take– don’t focus too much on steps 5, 6 and 7 from here, rather just take the next one step that feels right to you, and the steps after that will reveal themselves
  3. Fear puts blinkers on our view– step out of fear and change your state of mind. Ask yourself these questions:-
    1. what if…
      …you could not fail?
      …you are exactly where you’re meant to be?
      …everything really DOES happen for a reason?
      …you are with the person you SHOULD be with RIGHT now?
      …you couldn’t make a “wrong” decision?
      …then….(if this IS the case)
    2. What would you change?
    3. What would you BE?
    4. What would you KNOW?
    5. What would you DO?

Get a quiet mind, then let your wisdom speak to you and write the answers down.

September is always a great time of year to think about the progress made on your journey and to get clarity on your new goals.  We love to help people get clear and focused and mentally ready to smash through their plans as effortlessly as possible.  So, whilst you are wondering “what next?” just remember this:

“Take the first step, no more, no less.
And the next will be revealed.”

After all, iTS Leadership! Give us a call if you’d like to chat.

Most warmly

Antony

The Greatest Gift

It’s true that the greatest gift we can give anyone is our total and utter presence, but how often is it that we manage to be totally present, even, or especially, with our nearest and dearest?


Being present is definitely an art more than a science, in my experience.  Yes, there are things we can do to point us in the right direction of presence, but I have found that it is a habit that takes practice.  With practice comes improvement, but I’m certainly nowhere near “mastery” as yet!

What does “fully present” look like?

There is probably, somewhere, an official list with a scientifically proven definition to answer this question, but these are my top tips from my own experience:-

    • Mind – we can only be “fully” present when we have a quiet mind. This is because thinking and listening are mutually exclusive; we simply cannot think and listen at the same time!  So ensure your mind is quiet and your thinking is still and allow yourself to hear what the other person is saying
    • Ears – they say we have 2 ears and only 1 mouth and we should use them in that proportion!I think to be a good listener we probably need more of a 7:3 ration than 2:1, and certainly, to be fully present, we need to listen with no opinion nor judgement and simply, and only, to listen to understand
    • Eyes – if you wish to be fully present then look at their eyes when they are speaking. Eyes are “the gateway to the soul” and even if you don’t hear every single word, you will understand what is being said
    • Mouth – be mindful of your breathing and keep it slow and peaceful. A great thing to do is to match their breathing when you first sit down and then gradually slow yours down then watch them come into sync’ with you.  As you slow yours and their breathing, the thinking will slow down and you can connect more deeply
    • Heart – appreciate them! I attended a conference a few years back when we had to sit knee to knee with a stranger in the audience, and whilst that person shared “what holds me back in business” we had to be silent, look at them, not think about what they were saying, but just think and feel about all the things we admired and appreciated about them whilst they spoke. Following this, we then had to summarise, very briefly, what we had heard…not the detail, but the over-riding message.  The results were fascinating: tears from the respondents and such insightful shares from those “not listening”
    • Hands – to be fully present it is best to be open to listen and hear from the other person.The more the rest of our body physically reflects this the better.  As such, as good posture is sat upright, with arms not folded and either resting in your lap or turned palms up on your thighs.  It is strange how this simple exercise can change our listening so much
    • Feet – finally, to build on the ideas above, try it with both feet on the floor.Typically, this helps us to be centred and thus promotes the calm mind and less judgement etc

This week why not test some of these ideas out.  I’m not suggesting that you manage all 7 at once, well, not on the first try!  But give them a go…at home with your kids, your partner and at work with your colleagues and team members.

Being present really is the greatest gift we can give anyone.  Who do you wish to give a present to this week.

After all, iTS Leadership!

Let me know how it goes.

Most warmly

Antony

The China Pot

We all have objects around our homes that have significance to us personally. This is one of mine and the story attached to it highlights the difficulty we can have as leaders in knowing if we have done the right thing.

This Royal Doulton china pot was given to me as a gift by a patient’s mother when I was working as a Hospital Play Specialist on a children’s ward in the 1980s. She wanted to express her thanks for the care I had given her daughter Dawn*, who was treated for bone cancer at The Middlesex Hospital. It was not unusual for any of us to receive a gift from parents who were grateful for the care given by the clinical staff though the gruelling year-long treatment, but this was exceptional. It arrived three years after Dawn had finished her chemotherapy and surgery.

The note that came with the present from Mrs Hughes* said that she had only recently understood from Dawn’s reflections on her time on the ward, how important the time spent playing, talking and learning with me in the ward playroom had been. Mrs Hughes wanted to acknowledge how I had helped Dawn develop some healthy approaches to cope well during all the difficulties she encountered and how this had meant she had adjusted successfully to life back at school after treatment finished. This small gift and its message illustrates a valuable point:  it can take a long time for the benefits of our work to be fully realised.

Whilst Dawn started benefitting from our care during her treatment, the long term outcome  of a healthy
adjustment to a major life event, such as a cancer diagnosis, is the ultimate goal in paediatric care. Yet we rarely get to know about the long term outcomes of much of what we do, whether it’s about the psychological health of our patients, or the impact we have on our customers, or the consequences of many of our decisions on our businesses in the long term. When the operating environment is as complex as it is now, the outcomes are harder than ever to predict and tougher to keep track of.

So how do you know that you are creating long term beneficial outcomes for your team and your clients? How might you get the feedback that will give you clarity on how you add real value? Looking at the china pot today I realise I have two ways that work well for me.

Values

The work of the hospital play specialist in the 70s and 80s had some research evidence base to support it, yet was largely founded on core principles, articulated by pioneering psychologists and paediatricians. In other words, we worked to a set of values that we believed were right for the child and her family’s health. I still do this. When the outcomes cannot be determined but a problem needs solving, I work from a set of business and professional values.

Feedback

I also seek out feedback from those less connected to my current world of work. Just as those three years had allowed Dawn and Mrs Hughes to see things more clearly, so the conversations with those I’ve worked with in the past, have brought insight and understanding into how I’ve added value and the longer term outcomes of my work with clients. Their reflections might not always be comfortable to hear, as honesty can bring surprises yet the looking back, can help guide the moving forward.

So what are your examples of the “china pot”, when you got to learn that you had made a difference long after the event?

What will help you know if you are doing the right thing?

~Author: Judy Walker, Senior Business Consultant

*not their real names

The art of “Effortless Success”

I recently heard the analogy of trying to play a lute or guitar with the strings too tight or too loose.  Imagine this, what would it sound like?  Likelihood is either there would be no sound at all or it would be strained and unpleasant and most certainly not musical or harmonious!

So it is with us and our effort for success in whatever we do.  If we try too hard we simply don’t get the right results and if we don’t try hard enough then we shall neither be successful.

How will you define success?

I was speaking with my eldest son this weekend about his up and coming round of golf.  He wanted to make sure he played as well as possible and wanted to focus on his ensured success.  “How will you define success?” I asked him.  His response was obviously that it was down to achieving the lowest score.  I challenged him what other measures of “success” there could be in such a game, especially when played with family and friends.  My point was, when we focus on maybe the fun and enjoyment of the game and focus less on getting the result, maybe we relax that little bit more and end up getting a better result and greater “success” – both in the score and in the enjoyment….a bit like the Profit and Smiles we aim to enhance in all our client work!!

In his writing and speaking, Michael Neill talks about “Effortless Success” – “Effortless”, in this instance, isn’t about an avoidance of physical work; it’s about an absence of mental struggle.  Looking at this, how often, when the pressure is on, do we try too hard and in working this way fail to see the creative solutions and obvious answers to our challenges right in front of our noses.

So, this Monday, with the task lists being created for the day ahead, my challenge for you all is…tighten your strings neither too loose nor too tight; get the balance right between good physical work and too much mental struggle.  Take yourself for a walk.  Have a chat to a colleague you don’t know that well.  Take “time out” and see what this actually does for your productivity. 

I know for me and most of my mentees that practice this, we find our productivity and success, and probably more importantly, our ENJOYMENT of the journey to our success is greatly enhanced.

Why not give it a go this week?

After all, iTS Leadership!

Most warmly

Antony

Progress from Overwhelm

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the amount of things you need to get done in a day or week?

I know I do!  Always trying to get the balance right between “the urgent” and “the important”.  I can get so frustrated at trying to balance everything that somehow, sometimes, all of that seems to paralyse me and even less gets done then there’s “even more” to do tomorrow! I am sure I am not alone in this?

Recently I (re)heard the story of the child on the beach throwing Starfish back into the sea. When an elderly man approached them and asked what they were doing, they responded that at the sun was rising and the tide heading out, the starfish would die if they weren’t in the sea. “But there are tens of thousands of them, you’ll never make a difference” said the old man.  At that, the child picks up another, throws it into the sea, looks at the man and says “I made a difference to THAT one!”  https://youtu.be/Q-R5LqE3nzY

I like this metaphor. When we have so much to do in each day and the task list seems endless, all we have to think about is making a difference to the next task…pick that Starfish up, throw it back into the sea and breathe life back into it.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu

I have a question: how many “single steps” can you take today?  How many Starfish can you throw back into the sea?

When the whole picture looks overwhelming, let’s do one great thing at a time and rest assured that we are now further on our journey….after all, iTS Leadership!

Author: Antony Tinker