The importance of continuous learning

So, you finished College, University or your trade course, started work or founded a cool business, it must be time to forget about learning and focus on making the most of the time you have, right?

Although it is fair to say you may reduce your hours of learning, learning is essential for the rest of our lives.  Developing a habit of upskilling your knowledge and skills is a very important factor in living a full and successful life.

WHY?

In terms of living a healthy life, those who love to learn and do so until the day they leave this earth, are more likely to avoid degenerative deseases like dementia.  They are also more likely to live a life of great social relationships where they are happy meeting new people and developing new contacts (outside of close friends and family) which is a proven factor in living a long life.

We can all improve our knowledge and as we grow older we can become ‘experts’ in the the things that most interest us.  It is also very healthy to keep our brain working on positive new learning adventures which bring us new rewards and pleasures throughout our lifes journey.

 

Ways to learn?

Continual learning does not mean we have study for our master’s qualification at University (albeit there is nothing wrong with that), it can be learning things we are most interested in or gaining new skills and knowledge for our chosen field of work, this could be through courses, mentor sessions, online study etc.

Learning can also be simply picking up a (reputable) book that provides insights into a new skill or way of doing something.

There are video’s, audio files and night classes after work at your disposal.  Most communities have centres where you can learn new skills, meet new friends.

Learning is more fun when you are learning a skill you would love to have.

A great way to learn more is to become an expert and teach others, this will drive you to become more knowledgeable and possibly join (or start) a mastermind group who help each other advance their knowledge. Most great teachers and personal coaches will tell you that learning for them is a fulltime activity.

It is also more fulfilling when you learn with a group of people who share the same interests expanding your social relationships, networks and providing your brain with the nourishment it graves for.

Learning new things is a great way to meet new people, develop your skills  and have more to talk about at dinner parties.  It is a great way to help you live a healthy and fulfilled life, and that is what it is all about – right?

 

Did you find this helpful?  Please share it with people you care about.

 

 

 

 

The importance of networking

Whether you are building your business or developing a career there is one essential skill that you must put time into – networking.

Developing a network is one of the most beneficial things everyone can do. Having a community around helps make running your business or developing your career so much easier for many reasons.

  1. You have a network of people that you can ask advice from.
  2. You have other businesses/people that you can partner or collaborate with.
  3. You have the ability to develop relationships with people and gain insight on a different perspective that you can use to innovate.
  4. Overtime you will build relationships where you help each other, share ideas, help solve challenges – within your network everyone will have something to offer each other.
  5. Businesses will increase sales (through network referrals) and individuals will be thought of when job opportunities match their skills.

However, many people struggle with building up their professional network; after all, when you are taking care of all of your other responsibilities how can you also have time to socialise?

So, yes we have to take time to build our network.  I am not talking about turning up to meetings but, consciously making time each week to develop your personal network.  Joining networking groups is a great way to start, however it is just that, a start.  Developing YOUR network is what I am talking about here, when you meet people through network groups, industry functions, training etc actively look for people who you could network with.

The best way to start is to think about how you can help others in your network, what can you offer them? Once you get started you will find over time your network will naturally sort it self out.

I have a number of ways I manage my personal network/s.

  • Coffee meetings (you do not necessarily have to meet with everyone at the same time)
  • Build my own network groups online (usually I will identify people in these groups I want to work with face to face)
  • I manage my own network group/s which meet either monthly or quarterly.

If you are new to networking join a group, work with others who you identify as great networkers, or ask your colleagues and contacts if they know of a great group.

I am a fan of starting your own network, nurturing it by looking at what you can offer those you meet with and working on this activity every week.

I hope this article inspires you to either start networking or refresh your approach to this skill.  I have no doubt it is the single most successful way to build your business or develop your career.

“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – often do”

How do I motivate myself?

Self-motivation is a state of mind – a certain level of consciousness when reached, will take your life to another level. I promise.

International studies have shown that those who are self-motivated are seen to be the most successful, regardless of their background, financial position, education or location.   More importantly they are the people who when they say ‘I am great’ really mean it.

Why?
Because  they have developed that personal drive and fortitude to push themselves to success in life.  Well actually they have also decided it is time to be the best they can be.

Whether you are aware of it or not, every self-motivating thought you have can lead to empowering habits which will improve your life substantially. You can have complete control over your own fate by learning how to choose the way you think and then direct that energy consciously.

So, what are the tools to transform your life and become more self-motivated?

Food choices.  Learning to make sensible healthy food choices helps you develop self confidence and fuel your body, mind and spirit.  For me this means cutting out most sugars, keeping my carbs to a minimum, eating protein (yes including cheese) drinking a load of water each day and reducing my red meat down to once per week (most of the time).

Walking (or regular exercise).  I like to champion walking, not only is it a great fat burning exercise for those of us who need this but it allows you to think, take in what is around you.  Ideally walking somewhere in nature is the best tonic.  Currently I am losing weight so try to walk for a minimum of an hour.  MAybe I will cut this back to 40 minutes per day when I hit my goal weight or maybe I want.  You see, luckily I enjoy walking. (Something I had to tell myself at the start) but now it has become a habit I can say I really enjoy my walks.

Meditation. The very best catalyst for self-motivation, meditation helps you erase fears, clear your mind and tap into your deeper hidden wisdom and creative insights.  At the moment I am using the ‘Calm’ app to try some different meditations.  If you have never mediated I personally recommend you try this – ten minutes per day only.

Having been in a very dark place recovering from some very serious major surgery I can attest that the moment I started to use the tools above to restart my life, my mindset and motivation started to change for the better.  For me it was important to use all three tools together as they compliment each other.

I am not a fan of extreme diets, or using extreme physical events as your motivation to get fit, these work only for a short time.  Keep it simple and engage your common sense.

For me this is the foundation which you can then build on to create what ever life you want.

Hope you find this helpful – have a great day.

Building diversity into your organisation using Te ao Māori

First of all ‘Diversity’ is important because our country, increasingly consist of various cultural, racial, gender, people with a range of abilities and disabilities as well as many different ethnic groups. We can learn from one another, but first we must have a level of understanding about each other in order to facilitate collaboration and cooperation.  It also makes perfect sense economically to engage with people from all groups in your community.

A diverse organisation has more intellectual power, provided people can be ‘who they are’ at work.  This then allows them to share their culture, knowledge and skills, it makes them feel valued and they are more likely to repay their employer with loyalty and passion.

A great starting point for everyone (Employers, staff, prospective staff) can be to adopt the following Māori values;

  1. Manaakitanga
    One of the fundamental principles in Māori culture, manaakitanga is the enactment of mana-enhancing behaviour towards others. It is a measurement of people’s ability to extend kindness and generosity. The concept of manaakitanga includes understanding tapu sacredness and mana dignity. In our relationships, we are acutely aware of our mana and the mana of others.
  2. Whanaungatanga
    The people are our wealth. Whanaungatanga is about being part of a larger whole. Māori are related to all living things and thus express whanaungatanga with their surroundings. Whanaungatanga is about knowing you are not alone, but that you have a wider set of connections that provide support, assistance, nurturing, guidance and direction when needed. Understanding of roles and responsibilities are also part of whanaungatanga. Whanaungatanga embodies the ambitions of collectivism. Interdependence with each other rather than independence is the goal.
  3. Rangatiratanga
    Rangatiratanga describes the attributes of a rangatira leader and how these are given expression through humility, diplomacy, generosity, resilience and empowerment. We understand the importance of practicing what you preach, walking the talk, following through on commitments made, integrity and honesty.
  4. Kotahitanga
    Focused on developing and maintaining a unity of purpose and direction and avoiding approaches and decisions that lead to division and disharmony. A commitment through oneness of mind and action to achieving its vision emulates the practice of Kotahitanga. All are encouraged to make their contribution, to have their say. It is the consensus of the collective that determines what is best for the group.

There are many other values we could add, however I believe if an organisation truly adopts these values and nurture their staff to understand them fully, you then have the environment you will need to attract diverse talent and more importantly develop an environment where they most like to stay.

This is not about putting the values up on your wall, its about running masterclass sessions where the value is fully discussed and people are encourage to talk about this approach and how they feel about them.  Management needs to re-enforce these values and champions within the team should also be encouraged to help people understand WHY and how they are used.

So how do we build our Diverse team?

The majority of organisations will need to change the way they recruit by moving from a reactive ‘I hope people apply to my advert’ to a proactive environment where you build talent networks, marketing channels, talent pools, develop appropriate employment branding to use in these channels i.e. do not just post job adverts into them.

You will use different approaches to target the diverse audience you are looking for.  Essential if you want to build a true talent pool of diverse people, is to develop relationships with other organisations that are happy collectively working with you to build a pool for your group.  This concept is foreign for many organisations, yet collectiveness is such a powerful tool for finding talent, keeping the pool engaged and helping each other when looking for ‘hard to find talent’.

Get to know each other.

Once everyone truly understands the values above you can start to get to know each other in a ‘safe’ environment.  Simple staff activities can help with this process.  In the past I have found ‘pot luck’ lunches where people bring food they normally cook and share with each other and explain where the recipes came from etc.

Another approach is to have someone write staff stories which are shared across the team.  These stories bring people closer together as they see similar cuircumstances and find common ground to talk about.

When will you know you have a diverse organisation?

When your board, executive team and your workforce are full with diversity.  At this stage you will not only see a diverse workforce but you have the chance to create a great culture and high performing team who are able to tackle problems many different ways using ideas and solutions from a the range of different thinking people you have.

 

Hope you found this helpful.

 

 

Tony Cutting
Coach/Talent Management Consultant
M. 021 911 722
tonycutting.com

PS.  Yes, I am happy to work with organisations who are keen to adopt this approach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build ‘your’ system

There is a lot to remember when you are motivated to change your life for the better.

The first step is to make a personal plan that covers all aspects of our life which may include career or business, relationships, health, financial, friends & family, personal growth and development, fun and recreation, and environment etc.  For more information on goal setting visit my blog ‘Dreaming and goal setting’

Then to activate your plan you need to take ‘daily’ action and there are many great systems out there that can help you.  I personally use a customised time management system I have built myself based on the Day-timer system I use to promote in the 1980’s which I have modernised to meet my on needs. However I would encourage you to look around at what is available and find one you think would work best for you.

In terms of the actual plan, I start with a high level mind-map which includes images of the goals I have and can be transferred onto one page which I can visualise with each morning during my daily planning session.  This master plan gets broken down into descriptions in a journal, and the most important inclusion in the description is the reason WHY this goal is important to me.  Writing this down is extremely important and then linking that information in your mind map provides an easy system for reminding you of the goals and what they mean to you, when you check your map each day.

However, this is that part where I remind you to explore other systems, find one that would work best for you, the important thing here is that you plan your dreams, which is the first step in turning dreams into goals, then take daily actions that start the process of achieving these goals.  Whatever system you choose provided you are persistent and consistent you should get results.

I have found simple systems are the easiest.  However, your system is not just the planner you use it is the way your design your time. E.g. A person who sets a regular time to walk, or go to the gym is more likely to be persistent and consistent than someone who plans randomly there health activities. So working your plan using a diary is a must, regular times allocated for the most important goals is a must.  Then measuring results and making adjustments until you find what works for you.  Measuring results never stops until you achieve your goal (and in some cases like losing weight may be required forever to ensure you maintain the size you want).

The final step is to find someone to keep you accountable, this can be a friend who is also using a similar system or a Personal Coach who will keep you on track. Another way you can keep yourself accountable is  to publish your goal on social media (I use Facebook to let my friends and family know I am determined to lose weight) and then provide updates on how I am progressing each week.

You will get positive encouragement each week, and if you are like me you will be focused on making sure your next post is a positive one.  You will also earn respect when people see you are persistent and consistent with this activity.

The first goal you should have therefore is the goal to build a system that is right for you.

Take care of your self and hope you found this information helpful.

 

 

Being Successful

For a moment lets think of what success really is.  It is not about winning or losing or attaining objects that we think may or may not represent success.  To first understand what success really is we need to take away what other people think success is and what they think success for you is.

It is totally about what you define as success for you.   For me success is happiness.  I know many people will disagree but I tell you now that the person who is happy every day of their life and is grateful for what they have is the most successful person in the room.

In its purest form success is the achievement of what you would love in your life.  The road to success is simply making steps towards attaining these goals.  In fact, the moment you get up in the morning and make progress towards your desired goals this action makes you a successful person.

Regardless of what you learn (mistakes included) the fact you are taking action is a very positive thing – in my mind, this is also Success, in fact maybe this is what success is really all about.

Yes, achievements that give you a great high like winning the trophy or being recognised with a reward at work by your peers is great, but true success is more constant than those moments others see us in.

The simple act of writing will help you achieve success, use this skill to set a course you can follow and strive to achieve (which includes wins and losses) enables your daily success. As you write you will start to notice more things about you, your relationships, and environment.  The truly successful will not let these determine what success for them is, however they will use this understanding to learn and design the course they wish to follow. I use mindmaps and you may find these helpful too.

I use mindmaps to help set my personal course and you may find these helpful too.

Maslow’s theory I feel is a great indicator for what success for all of us might be.

Success Step 1 – Basic Needs (Physiological Needs – Food, Water, Warmth & Rest) along with (Safety – Security & Safety)

Success Step 2 – Psychological Needs (Belongingness and Love needs – intimate relationships and friends) along with (Esteem needs – prestige and feeling of accomplishment)

Success Step 3 – Self-Fulfillment needs (Self-actualisation – achieving one’s full potential including creative activities).

My only proviso is that for Success Step 3 achieving your full potential is the goal you will always have to chase, until your final day.

I would also hope that you look at what ‘Values’ are important to you and when you find values that you would like to strive to live by you use these to guide you through life.  Without values, again written down and passionately followed you may never truly set the right course.

Finally – Become successful by building a great life, without hurting or affecting others whether it is in humble surroundings or something more, with a smile in your heart pursuing exactly what YOU want while loving what you have – and you my friend are among the most successful people on the planet.

 

 

 

Persistence and using the Law of Accumulation

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”– Calvin Coolidge

Persistence and understanding the Law of Accumulation will help you achieve things you may never have thought possible.

The Law of Accumulation
Everything great and worthwhile in human life is an accumulation of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of tiny efforts and sacrifices that nobody ever sees or appreciates.

Understanding that little wins will accumulate and persistent actions, education, training while building your financial base will allow you over time to achieve massive goals is important.  If you wish to decrease the time to achieve these things you need to increase the volume of little things and the most important thing to develop is your knowledge.

If you wish to decrease the time to achieve these things you need to increase the volume of ‘little’ things especially knowledge.

We have all heard the saying “How do you eat an Elephant?” “One bite at a time” or “A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”.

These sayings illustrate the Law of Accumulation.  The only thing stopping you from succeeding in your quest is when you decide to quit.  Being persistent and determined and understanding the importance of every little win accumulated will eventually bare the fruit you are after is a mindset I hope all my children adopt.  I hope you adopt think about adopting this mindset too.

However, there are ways to use the Law of Accumulation, that will help you accelerate your quest for success.

  1.  Using the Law of accumulation to improve your knowledge and skills, advancing your ability to find answers or solutions for the hurdles that may lay ahead. Whether you do this through an education provider or simply through your own persistent study, reading, writing and experimenting will help you move things along.
  2. Gaining experience working with those who have been there before, working with a coach or mentor until you can learn no more from them, then seeking out others that have the experience to help.
  3. Accumulating funds and creating assets that help you generate the income to purchase the tools, training and knowledge to keep momentum working in your favour will allow you to do things faster over time.  Building a solid asset base should be a priority the moment you start earning.

All of these actions above will help you keep growing and learning and accumulating those little wins that will help you achieve your greatest dreams.

Sometimes days, weeks, months may pass by with only small wins, so it is important to celebrate every little win and this will help your motivation to be persistent even when you take what feels like backward steps. Appreciate each day for what you have learned that day and make a fresh start to accumulate a win tomorrow.

So do not despair when you hit a wall, fall down and feel there is nothing more you can do – because there is.  You can start again, maybe you needed to rethink your approach, change your approach, research and learn something new, train harder? find help? find motivation? whatever it is pick up and go again.

Be persistent, use the Law of Accumulation every day.

And never stop.