Ingrid Moonflower

The history of the Moonflower family

A long, long time ago, in fact over ten thousand years ago, on an Island somewhere in the south Pacific Ocean was a beautiful enchanted forest.  At the middle of this forest, existed a large oval meadow, surrounding a pretty, little cottage, and around the cottage was the most beautiful garden you can imagine.

The cottage had a red roof and a red door and the entire home was crafted from kauri out of the forest.  Close by a rambling stream with the purest water drifted through the property.

OK try to imagine it then!

No, more beautiful than that, in fact so beautiful it had its own guardian, a happy witch called Asil Gnittuc.  Asil spent all her time caring and nurturing the garden which was filled with flowers of all different shapes and sizes, every colour was represented in the garden.  It also contained the most wonderful vegetables, herbs – all the witch needed to live on.

The cottage and garden were well protected by the surrounding forest which consisted of fifty-foot-high kauri and twenty-foot-high manuka tree’s, strong flax, kowhai and a magical plant ‘grosia’ created by Asil herself, used to fill in all the gaps left by the native forest so no one could see through to the meadow and garden.  In fact, the only way you could find this meadow was if you flew directly over the top – very safe since there were no planes or helicopters in those days.

The forest was filled with a thousand different types of birds, they made beautiful music every day, and woke Asil every morning.

Asil loved all her plants, but her most favourite of all was her stunning moonflowers.  The moonflowers flowered at night and were the prettiest of all the flowers, tall and beautiful they would dance in the breeze and provide a magical happy feeling throughout the late evening until dusk.  They then withered and hid until the following evening.  They were always at their brightest and happiest when the full moon shone directly down on the meadow.

Life was wonderful for Asil and her plants. Until one horrible day.

It was a Munday (Asil’s calendar is a little different to ours) and just before noon she heard the most horrible screaming, screeching, whining sound.  To Asil’s horror she recognised the sound of her horrible, wicked sister ‘Annod’ flying on her broomstick, she must have found her somehow?

Annod, always teased her when they were kids, unlike the friendly, nature-loving Asil she liked to destroy beautiful things and although she was unable to hurt people due to a spell placed on her by a wise old auntie, she would make their life’s miserable by destroying the things they loved.  Annod destroyed all the gardens Asil cared for when they were young.

Annod despised Asil as she was the family favourite and had decided she would only use her magic for good.  Annod would use her magic for evil and cause misery. Her one goal in life was, in fact, to make Asil’s life a misery.

They were both raised on an island halfway around the world and Asil had never thought her wicked sister would be able to find her, hidden thousands of miles away, but somehow, she had.

Annod swooped over the meadow and immediately attacked Asil’s beautiful purple roses destroying them all, Asil distressed summoned water from the stream and fired it straight back at her sister, pushing her over the forest.

Asil knew her sister would return once she got her strength back, and would keep returning until all the garden was destroyed.  She went back into her house and looked for an ancient spell given to her by the same auntie who had taken away her sisters’ ability to hurt people.

The only problem was, it would only work once.  She rushed out to her garden, it was starting to go dark and she spotted her beautiful Moonflowers, they had to be saved.

She waved her wand and muttered the ancient words ‘plantasious humanis’ concentrating her spell on her beautiful moonflowers. They all disappeared under the soil.

Thirty minutes later Annod swooped in for a final attack and plundered and destroyed the garden.  She entered the cottage and Asil had left.  Asil had taken off knowing once her sister had figured it out she too would leave the island.  Asil decided she could never to return, but her precious children would now be safe.

Ten nights later the full moon rose and shone brightly over then meadow.  What came out of the soil that night was the most beautiful beings ever created by a witch on this earth – The Moonflowers.

Fast Forward ten thousand years…

Ingrid moonflower, always knew she was different from other people on the Kapiti Coast.  Her family had originally lived in a beautiful forest on Kapiti Island but a few hundred years ago, her great, great, grandad had decided it was time to move to the mainland.  They landed at Waikanae Beach and made a home there.

Ingrid’s dad was a natural when it came to gardening and made a great living teaching and helping other people on the Kapiti Coast how to care and nurture their plants.  Ingrid also had this natural gift but was pursuing a different career. The family for generations were vegetarian, only drank water, exercised every night, were always smiling, loved their lives and made the most of every day (and night) and lived long, healthy lives.  In fact, if you checked records at the local medical centre – they do not exist.

When she was young, Ingrid attended Waikanae Playcentre, where she enjoyed playing with the other kids but found she needed a nap by lunchtime, especially when the sun was at its peak in the day sky.  She always seemed to get a second wind around dusk and would stay up far later than any normal kid.

At Kapanui Primary School she again did well, getting on with nearly every kid, she had a caring and nurturing nature and became very popular.  She was especially known for her ability to play and stay up very late at sleepovers.

The same pattern followed when she attended Paraparaumu College, sluggish in the afternoon and more energised in the evenings, although a natural in the science’s and biology, she had a calling to pursue a career looking after and caring for people.

She had some clear differences that set her apart from many of her friends, but as a teenager, she seemed to fit into the pattern of life they led quite easily.

Present Day

Ingrid is studying ‘Psychology’ at Victoria University, her passion for learning about and caring and nurturing people had provided her with many options.  However, working out what made people tick, fascinated Ingrid more than anything else.

Her natural abilities and knowledge that seemed to flow through her blood vessels were how to look after plants.  She knew if you cared for and nurtured plants, providing them with the right food, sunshine, water, and keep the nasty bugs from destroying them ‘dad said they were created by a horrible witch 10,000 years ago,’ then you had the formula to could grow big healthy plants.

She wanted to know how you grew big healthy people.

Ingrid worked best at night, she studied hard and found she had abundant energy when the moon was at its biggest and brightest.

Her days from lunchtime on would be a struggle, she wondered if her true ancestors were from Italy or Spain, she had read they took afternoon siesta’s and rested until dusk.  Her father always laughed when she mentioned this, he always said many of the family had left the island hundreds of years ago and shifted to these countries.

At the weekend’s, she was the life of the party, able to stay up all night, her happy caring nature making others feel great as well.  None of them had as much energy or could stay up as long as Ingrid, it was her ‘power’ they told her.

She is now into her third year at University, she is troubled by the need to stay in bed until very late in the morning and doing very little in the afternoon.  So, she studies at night, catches up with her lectures on-line in the evenings.

She can be very grumpy if you try to get her up early, but her parents understand.

After all, they do all their gardening and business activity after 4 pm and in the summer, they reduce their work to a few days per week.  They have staff who take care of business in the morning and early afternoon and are happy with the overtime during the hottest months of the year.  ‘Do you think that is why the family was given the name Moonflower?’ they often would ask each other? When they need, they have plenty of energy in the evening and early hours to catch up on paperwork.

What Ingrid has learnt so far is people are like plants with only one major difference.  You need to care for them, nurture their whole being (Body, mind and soul), give them the right food and regular water (at least eight glasses a day).  The big difference is they need to move, her studies seem to confirm an absolute minimum of thirty minutes walking a day and her recommendation is one-hour movement or more every day (or night if you are a moonflower).

The other thing she figured out, there are more moonflowers around the world but for some reason, they had different surnames.  Apparently, they changed their family name for safety?

What do you think? are you a moonflower?

 

 

Becoming World Class – 10,000 Hours?

The Christmas / New Year period is a great time to relax and reflect especially here in New Zealand where most of the country (other than the hospitality, farming and retail industries) take a well-earned collective rest.  It is also the time I recharge my batteries and really think about my personal plan and what activity I will be focusing on during the next year.

As a Coach, I have always been interested in what it takes to be “World Class” and I have decided that in 2017 I am going to dig deeper and try to qualify my own thinking.

I invite you, if you are interested in this subject to reach out and contact me with your own thoughts, I am more than happy to have others contribute to this research, or maybe you are just happy taking part in exploring what the magic formula really is.

I do have some very good connections to a number of real-life world class sports people, but my interest extends far beyond sports to all places people dream to achieve.

Malcolm Gladwell (author – The Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, David and Goliath etc) came to the conclusion based on his research that it takes 10,000 hours to become ‘world class’ in your field of choice.

Anders Ericsson (Professor of Psychology, Florida State University) concluded that “many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years”.

This is what I believe as of today.
As a Coach, I feel that there is much merit in championing the 10,000 hours theory as a part of the formula, especially for youth.  However, I would also add that without the right motivation on behalf of the actual person striving to become world class reaching 10,000 hours may not be achievable.  My stomach tells me it may take adults longer, as they also have to battle patterns of thought and habits that they need to change.

NB: I have been in the Recruitment and Talent Management industry for over 25 years and Motivation is well known globally for being the key to employing the right people for a job.

Before you go anywhere I think you need to have an ounce of talent to work from, it maybe only small but this combined with the right motivation in place I believe is your starting point.

Also, simply just practising a thing will not necessarily make you world class. I fully believe each and every one of us needs a guide or Coach with the skills to take you the next level.  You will also need to upgrade or change your Coach as you reach the full potential with that individual Coach, and continue to develop your own self-management and coaching skills throughout this journey.   Great Coaches are also developing themselves constantly but from my own humble experience in sports, and a career in talent management that extends well beyond the 10,000 hours, believe that as a Coach it is likely a change will be needed when growth slows and or progress is not being made.

So, not only does the individual need to have an ounce of talent, a burning motivation and the determination to work hard to become world class, so does the people supporting and nurturing that talent.

I also believe in the phrase used by our World champion team here in New Zealand “Better people, make Better All Blacks – Sir Graeme Henry” who in the past fifteen years had spent most of this time ranked at number one in the world for their sport.  However, until Sir Graeme took the helm we “choked” at the final stages in world cups for a period of twenty years.

Possibly also upgrade this phrase to “Great people, make great champions”  Richie McCaw arguably New Zealand’s greatest All Black Captain never wanted to be an All Black, from an early age he wanted to be a “Great All Black” and he achieved that dream.

This has brought me to the thinking that to be truly world-class do you also need to develop as a great all round person?  I think for longevity sake this would not be a bad course to set your thinking on.

Taking Richie’s thoughts into account it also adds a major factor “It has to be the person’s dream” not Mum or Dads dream.  If Mum or Dad introduce one of their kids to something they then fall in love with and the kid dreams of becoming world class then you have the precious flicker take can be developed into something further.  Nurtured well, given the right positive coaching and hard work across all facets of the person’s being and well-being (life / work balance) a willingness to work a minimum of 10,000 hours of quality training (not just doing time) then, just then, you may have the formula to become a World Champion at whatever it is you love to do.

Please feel free to comment or email me with your thoughts.  This article is just the beginning I am keen to hear your views. 

Have a wonderful 2017

As we launch into a New Year, I genuinely wish everyone to have a happy and healthy 2017.  I wonder if we all actually felt this way what the world would look like?

My year starts as it has for the last few years with my review of my personal plan.  I am actually well down the track as I am so excited about making 2017 absolutely wonderful I started my review early in December. The reality is we have a choice, we can either make it a great New Year or we can choose to “See what happens” and take that great big risk.

I like many Coaches in the world have chosen to a great year, so how do we do it?

In the wise words of Mary Morrissey, “the world is happening through us, not to us”

My interpretation of this is we all have the power to control what we do, who we choose to be with and what we plan to do.  Given just these simple facts we have all we need to design, plan and implement a wonderful New Year.

Mine starts with that personal long term plan based on what I want my life to look like, well not just want, more like desire, love and dream to have.  Then I simply go through the processes I have learnt over the past 53 years on this planet and start mind mapping my plan.  I then break this plan down into the areas I need to work on and will use this plan every morning to design my day, knowing that if I work my plan every day, not only am I already living the life I would love to live but I am also making it happen.

That is the basic framework.  Only you can fill in the details and if you need someone to help you move on I suggest you consider finding a Coach that you can work with.  I am extremely lucky as I work with a mastermind group of Coaches here in New Zealand, as well as work with my own Coach.

Every person needs a Coach, someone to guide them and keep them on their desired track.  You can try and “go it alone” but ask this question of yourself, how quickly can I achieve my goals alone?  Would I get there faster with someone who is dedicated to helping me?

Happy New Year everyone – choose to make this year a great one!

 

Dreaming – Goal Setting (Stage One)

What is Goal Setting?

Goal setting is a subject that alters people’s lives forever. Once you master the skill of goal setting you can achieve almost anything you want to. The following information and exercise/s will help you on the path to understanding what goal setting is and how to use it to successfully achieve your dreams.

After this exercise, you will have the basic skills to design your own future.

“A life best lived is a life by design” – Jim Rohn
“ Live a Life you would LOVE to live” – Mary Morrissey

We start the process by getting you to use your imagination. What is the life you dream to live?

Tapping this resource of imagination is focused on your future, thinking about the rest of your day, tomorrow and what your life will look like when the time comes for reflection on what you have achieved.

Dreams
Dreams are like magnets – they pull. The stronger your dreams are, the more purposeful they are, the bigger they are the stronger they pull.

They pull you to take the actions necessary to achieve these dreams.

Dreams written down are called “Goals”.

Powerful Goals
Powerful Goals have three main components;

1. They must be inspiring
2. They must be believable
3. They must be goals you can act on

NB: You do not have to know how you will get there. Part of the adventure of life is the journey, the discovery and learning. If you already know how to get there, then your dream maybe too small, dream big!

Getting Started -Your Future ‘Mindmap’

To get started I want you to paint the picture of what your life would look like when you come to your final days.  You want no regrets and you want to live the life you designed.  This is the starting point for your personal goal setting.

Below is an example of my very own mind map.  Yours may look very different and that is cool with me.

tc-mind-map

This top level map describes what I want to achieve in my life.  It starts with the centre of my universe – my family (whanau).  For me, at age 53 this is my major driving force.  However, it also includes the things I want to personally achieve.

At this level, it lacks detail but does provide the guide for me to follow as I dive deeper into each of these top level goals.  It also is the starting point for me to consider the things I really want to achieve in life.

I find it very powerful to see my plan on one piece of paper like this it helps me focus while I work on the individual goals and action steps I need to take to achieve my dreams.


 

Exercise 1 – Build your own Mindmap

Step 1. It starts with you evaluating and reflecting on where you are right now and where you want to be in the future. In the case of this Mindmap we want you to take that future right to the end of your life. Spend some time (alone) reflecting on what you would like your friends and family to be saying about you during your first day on earth. What is it you achieved with your life? How satisfied will you be? What is it that made your life what you wanted it to be? What were you about?

Then start putting pen to paper or if you would rather find magazines or print images from google to create your own personal image board.

At this stage, we are working at a very high level not too worried about the how but definitely thinking about the WHY.

You are more likely going to need to set aside time on a regular basis the work on this top level map and over time it will become clearer on what you really want it to look like. All this means is the initial map may change as you further reflect and evaluate what you want. It is important to get started and let momentum help the process evolve.

Step 2. What are your dreams and goals (future only) What do you want to achieve? What values do you want to live by? What sort of person do you want to be known as? What do you want – not what someone else wants you to be. These should come from your heart and soul. They are unique to you and come from who you were created to be and gifted to become.


Exercise 2 – SMART GOALS

Once we have drafted our mind map we want to start applying the rules of goal setting to help us succeed. The next stage is to evaluate each goal using the SMART system. Take each goal and create a heading on a new piece of paper. You should have separate sheets for each goal.

We are now going to start working on defining each goal.

SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time- Sensitive.

Specific – Don’t be vague. Exactly what do you want?

Measurable – Quantify your goal. How will you know if you’ve achieved it or not?

Attainable – Be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably accomplish at this point in your life while taking into consideration your current situation.  This is the stage where you might set a task to learn more about how you are going to attain this goal e.g. “signup with a personal trainer, to learn more about getting fit” may lead to you setting new goals after you have learned from this trainer.

Realistic – It’s got to be achievable, real and practical.

Live a Healthy and Happy Life (TC Short Example)
I will retain my weight at 80kgs, each healthy food’s each day by planning out my meals and shopping on a regular basis to ensure I have healthy food to eat. I will weigh myself each week to ensure I maintain this weight or take necessary actions. (Weekly Action – plan out my meals and buy food for the week). (Weigh in Day – Friday)

I will walk a minimum of 30 minutes every day and during this time I will smile and be thankful for all I have in my life, including my wonderful family and friends. (Record distance and time in Journal).

I spend 20 minutes every day by myself meditating. I will go to sleep before 10 pm each night and get 6-8 hours’ sleep before I start the next day.

In the Summer of 2017/18, I will start to Surf again.

I will get regular health checks and continual learn new ways of being happy and healthy.  (further Action – set appts in my diary).

I will subscribe to and read about how to improve my health and start to help others around me so we live a healthy life together.  (Further Action, research books to read).

COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE FOR ALL OF YOUR GOALS.

NB: Part of your journey might be discovering the answers, so you may not be able to fill in all the blanks yet, you may create new blanks to fill in as you discover, learn and grow. Is this not what life is all about?

Once you have these Goals written down then you hold yourself accountable.  You check them weekly, monthly, and annually.  Each day you action your daily plan by writing down your goals for the day, starting the planning session by asking yourself this simple question.

“What am I doing today, to move me closer to my dream?”

 

 

 

Setting up a fabulous 2017

As Christmas, fast approaches, and then we celebrate the start of a new year I am preparing myself for my annual ritual of reviewing my lifelong dreams and goals and setting the course for a successful 2017.

For me, this process has already started and my reviewed personal plan and the new annual plan will not be complete until the end of January, giving me plenty of time to dream and feed my mind with positive energy.

I love this time, not the commercial Christmas which causes so many people, so much stress. I do enjoy boxing day a chance just to relax and soak in the great things about this time of year, and spend time with family without the hustle and bustle of Xmas day.  New Year’s Eve can be special as we catch up with those we enjoy bringing in the new year.

My most favourite time is the hours I will spend over January reviewing and building my personal plan.  This is a time where I like a lot of personal time (alone) dreaming and visualising what my life is going to look like.  I also look at how I can build a better me, and how I can help those people I love as well as those people who cross my path.

It is also a time of new stationary in the form of new Daytimer pages and a new Journal – why does stationery bring me such joy?

Happiness is always on the agenda and I will remind myself that being grateful every day is the key to unlocking a happy and healthy life.  I will also remind myself that I can control how I feel every minute of the day and I can choose to be happy regardless of any situation I find myself in.  Life is for living and learning, having great experiences and spending time with people that help each other be the best they can be.

I will spend much time thinking about the people I love, focusing my mind on a positive future, being grateful for who they are and learning to enjoy every moment, this is the journey I am on.

It’s a time of forgiveness and letting go, I work on this daily now and found it is such a wonderful skill to help you get the most from your life.  Dwelling negatively on people or circumstances, worrying about what might happen, holding grudges is not for me.  I want my mind to be positive and focus on enjoying life and helping others to do the same. Simply trying to not think about those who have wronged you is not enough, forgiveness works – try it.

My plan will be comprehensive and setup the rest of my year and drive me down a life path I would love to live, one that I personally have designed, one that is great for me, great for the ones I love and great for those people I spend time with.  I will control the things I can control, I will prepare and remind myself that there will be challenging thoughts that enter my head, but will also remind myself that they are simply thoughts and that is their nature, I am guided by my heart and this is what I will remind myself to listen to.

This ensures I will have a very Merry Christmas and an awesome New Year.  I wish you all the same.

Arohanui

 

May all your problems be little ones this Christmas and may you love watching them unwrap their presents.

Be happy, learn to say ‘NO’.

Now some people may be horrified when they read the title of this article but the reality is most of us struggle to say ‘No’ and the cost is usually our time or money and our ability to achieve what we want to in life. Let’s face it we were all given the gift of life and if there is a plan for us surely it is the one we should be designing for ourselves. Yet we compromise that plan because we struggle to say that little word.

It could be that we believe that saying no is uncaring, even selfish, and we may have a fear of letting other people down. On top of this may be a fear of being disliked, criticised, or risking a friendship. The reality is, it is impossible to please everyone, so we should prioritise and understand who are the most important people in our lives (and especially include ourselves in those plans).

Now here’s an completely normal example. We are all allowed to be happy every day and the only thing that stops us being happy is the choices we make. One of those choices is what we are going to be doing with our time. If we assume we are going to give eight hours to our career (whether that be your business or employer) in exchange for the cash we need to live our lives, and we should be using at least eight hours for rest, we put aside 30-60 minutes for exercise, an hour in the morning preparing ourselves for work (having breakfast), 30-60 minutes for lunch (where we make catch up with friends or squeeze our exercise in) that leaves us with around five of six hours a day doing the things we want to do. This means during the normal working week we have around five to six hours to concentrate on the activities for our own benefit. These maybe further education, entertainment or doing the activities that we enjoy.

If you have children (and I have four) most of this time will be spent with them, and it should be. There is nothing wrong with that. In the weekend, time can quickly be filled up with laundry, kid’s sports, house and garden maintenance and simply recharging the battery (sleeping in etc.) helping friends out or visiting relatives.

Suddenly when you look back at the week at all these “activities” you have only a few hours per week or less for yourself? Unless of course you start saying no.

Saying no actually starts with you deciding to design the life you would love and then ensuring you prioritise time for yourself. When it comes to designing, I mean making a real plan written down, with actions and everything a plan designed for a life you love to live that will make you happy every day. Now if it ends up looking like the life example described above and that truly makes you happy all well and good, however in most cases once we do this our plan looks very different.

Another reality is you are most likely going to get more respect when you say no.
No doubt, you will need to compromise but a rule I live by these days is every day I am doing something that helps me achieve the life I love to have. Every day my plan is to be happy and no one gets to take the time I have put aside for that. This may only be an hour per day but even then, it means I have had to learn to say no.

What would you achieve if you gave yourself seven hours’ personal time per week?

My goal over the next few years is to increase my personal time, increase my ‘no’s and to teach my children to do the same. Although funny enough they are pretty good at this already – maybe a lesson right there.

If I truly want them to be successful and have the life they would love to have is this not the right approach?

How important is presentation?

Photo Credit: Werner Kaffl

How did you react to my photo?  Was it intriguing? Is it too scary?  Am I looking into your soul? More importantly did it help pull you in to read this article?

What light does this photo immediate place on your impression of me?

You see whether we like it or not people will paint a picture about how they feel about you.  In extreme cases that can be the difference between getting an interview, winning a new customer or whether a potential life partner decides to make contact.  It also dictates what sort of people you will attract.

I think most people understand how important it is to present themselves in the best possible light.  Yet when you troll through Facebook or LinkedIn and our very own JobCafe you will find the majority of photos representing people are of a poor quality.  Many of the LinkedIn profiles I visit are incomplete yet these same people will be the first to complain that “I get no leads from LinkedIn” or “Nobody has ever reached out to me as a result of my JobCafe profile”.

As a person who works primarily in the talent management sector I can tell you now Recruiters, Coaches switched on HR people are using these tools to find or checkout your profile.  Customers are checking you out before you call.

There are so many fish in the on-line sea these days so much so it becomes automatic to skip those who just “could not be bothered” or “I used the camera on my PC, was always going to replace it” .

The reality for all of us is the landscape of finding people is changing dramatically and if you want to take advantage of this technology the time to take it most seriously is right now.

Anyway … so here are my tips on how to look great online

  1.  Use a professional photographer to create your online photos
  2. Make sure you look as professional as you need for the industry or purpose your profile is for. The right photographer will help you here.
  3. Back this up with the way you look when you meet people in real life.
  4. Do the research on people who have a similar career path or business as yourself. How are they presenting themselves?  Set your bar with the people who present themselves the best.
  5. Checkout this wiki site that gives some great tips http://www.wikihow.com/Present-Yourself-in-the-Best-Possible-Way
  6. Ask your better half – and listen to them.

Finally.  It feels great when you get that haircut or see yourself in that new suit?  You look great and feel great – this is the moment you ring your photographer.  Refresh your look on a regular basis and you are halfway there.

 

 

 

 

 

What is Success?

OK for starters there is no one single destination or accomplishment that is success.

Success is not buying that high end sports car, it’s not having a bigger house than your neighbour, it is not a physical place and it is not how much money you have in the bank.

Success is how you feel about yourself. Everyday.

Success is the journey, provided you are following the path towards what you wish to achieve in life.  These achievements we call goals and they are yours to choose to strive for and this includes what life YOU choose to design for yourself.

I would hope we all choose to live a healthy, happy life everyday – believe it or not this is possible, more so if you follow a Tibetan monk’s life but also more likely if we take the time to design our lives in such a way as to make this a high priority.  At times this can be tough and challenging, take this from someone who is still recovering from brain surgery, being happy is really our choice.  We get to choose how we react to others and to the life and situations we find ourselves in, so why not just choose to be happy.

If you define life this way you should soon come to the conclusion that everyday above ground is a great day – life  after all is just the simple act of breathing in and breathing out. So if you are doing this then you should be happy.

For those of us that feel this is just not enough then design what is right for you.  No one (and I mean no one) can design your success plan for you.  Nor should we look at others success in envy and choose to design the same path.  So how do we design our own successful path.

Step 1. Reflection
Spend time alone with yourself, in a comfortable place where you can think (for some of us that maybe sitting alone on a beach, or in the bush, maybe walking in a park) somewhere where only nature can interrupt our thoughts.  Think about what you really want in life, in fact what is it you want to achieve before your time has come. What are you true dreams? What events have shaped our lives to date?   Do this exercise as often as you need yearly, monthly, weekly and use this time to reshape your plan and revisit your goals.  I personally do this just after new years every year then review and reflect on my plan each quarter.

Step 2. Personal Goal setting (life goals)
These have three main essential elements

  1. They must be inspiring (to you)
  2. You must believe in them
  3. They must be goals you can act on.

If your personal life goals meet each and every one of these criteria, then you have the recipe for success at our fingertips (yes write them down).

Step 3.  Take actions everyday
Everyday take one small step to achieving any or all of your goals and at the end of the day you can call that day a success.  Some days you may achieve more than others but regardless celebrate with a smile your achievements.  The better we plan and more we act the quicker we should reach our goals.

Goals will be attained and new goals will be set, a successful day is a happy day in which we are taking those few small actions towards meeting our next goal.

I wish you a successful life – the one you design.

You can make it as simple or as complicated as you like.

 

 

 

 

Fifteen fundamental skills of a great leader.

1. Share the Vision
The most important thing a leader can do is provide their team with the WHY? What makes this work worth the time. Granted, the boss doesn’t always get to set the agenda, but a great one will advocate for something worthy, and ensure that she or he communicates it effectively and often.

2. They Lead
Sounds obvious but many ‘managers’ do not lead. To be a great leader you have to demonstrate some level of skill and in times of stress it’s the leader who stands up to be counted or finds a way forward. They make decisions.

3. They respect time.
Great bosses have little tolerance for boring meetings, mandatory fun, and making others wait unnecessarily. They also avoid long-windedness when straight forward comments will do.

4. Establish priorities.
When you try to focus on everything, you’re not focusing on anything. A smart boss understands that, and realizes that lack of focus can easily derail the plan. Everyone should be great at planning; leaders are great at planning and time management but also have that extra skill of being able to set the plans priorities.

5. Share information.
There are often good reasons to control the timing of information sharing, but overall the more transparent a boss can be, the more respect the team will ultimately have for him or her.

6. Provide feedback
People wonder how they’re doing. Great leaders let the team know, and they’re especially vocal and public about it when people are doing well. Building a culture of gratitude starts at the top. If the leader doesn’t take time to offer thanks to those around him or her and sets this culture in place.

7. They demonstrate empathy.
Great leaders are able to see things through other people’s eyes, especially their team. Of course this doesn’t mean that they are pushovers, but it does mean that they’re concerned about their people on multiple levels.

8. They recognise team strengths.
A great leader recognizes the talents of members of the team, and strives to lead in a way that lets everyone maximize their effectiveness together.  They also encourage growth and nurture team members to develop their skills.

9. Be here now
They work in the present when dealing with anyone they focus on that person’s needs, they do not let distractions undermine giving people the right level of attention, they listen. This skillset of working in the present also includes when working on their own tasks – focused.  They understand the importance of successful activity today is how you create what you want in the future.

10. They accept blame.
Ethical people accept blame for their failings. Maybe they don’t dwell on it, but they accept it. Great leaders go a step further, accepting the collective blame when the team comes up short, and then guiding everyone to move forward.

11. They are human
They show their emotions but work hard on being a positive influence. Showing happiness can be infectious and a great way to lead the team.

12. They set the expectations
It’s often true that more progress is made when we seek forgiveness than when we seek permission. However, there are rules, social norms, and basic decency. Great bosses strive to uphold them.

13. They celebrate wins.
Great leaders look for milestones to celebrate–whether that means a 15-second recognition or a full-blown party. Great teams celebrate, encourage and support each other throughout the journey – not just after the finish line has been reached.

14. They strive for excellence.
Because really, who wants to work for someone who strives simply to be adequate?

15. They create leaders.
Great leaders inspire their people to become great leaders. They’re thrilled, not threatened, when members of their teams move on to better things, in fact often they push these people forward (rather than try and retain or hold them back).

The Rose Compass

OK a little confession here.  This is a tool I have been working on for a few years to help people at work as well as help managers, team leaders, supervisors become stronger talent managers. I have used this tactic a lot when managing staff and have been able to get great results even with those people who may not have been on the companies’ wavelength or that keen on having me take over from their previous manager.  I now use this tool in my approach with my coaching clients and find it works very well for me.

OH…And by results I mean loyalty, trust, honesty and positive outcomes for the business.

The goal of this tool is to provide a simple weekly exercise that every manager can use to help develop a meaningful working relationship with their most important resource – their people.  It is also design so you do not have to purchase some fancy piece of software or invest heavily in management courses to learn.

I have looked to keep it simple so if is effective and easily actioned.  My hope being this will make your work life better.  I suspect you can apply this tool to your other relationships and find improvement their as well if you need it.

So what is a Rose Compass?
The compass rose is an old design element found on compasses, maps, and even monuments (e.g. the Tower of the Winds in Athens and the pavement in Dougga, Tunis, during Roman times) to show cardinal directions and frequently intermediate direction.

Early forms of the compass rose were known as wind roses, since no differentiation was made between a directional point and the wind that emanated from that direction.

The purpose of the Rose Compass is to help you stay on track.  The Rose Compass can show you where you want to go and help you understand where you are actually heading.

Applying the Rose Compass to Talent Management.
Understanding the principle that there are always a minimum of two directions we are heading is important within Talent Management.  No matter whether you are working for someone else or working for a client there are these forces at play – what the company or client wants you to achieve, and what you want to personally achieve.  Like with a nautical Rose Compass the trick is to monitor the situation on a regular basis to ensure you are heading to achieving your goal/s.

From a managers view the value in a Rose Compass is know what the employee is looking to achieve for themselves personally and tracking this against what the business is wanting them to achieve.  If you can find the matches you can coach and manage the employee effectively.  If no match exists or the direction of the employee is unclear, then you have left yourself open for trouble.

Now this is very important …
Unlike, a performance review this approach starts with an absolute focus on the staff member’s needs.  Where are they heading? what do they want to achieve, how can you help them get there?  and in many cases you will find that initially you may need to help people discover a direction.  The great thing is once this is established you can then start mapping the tasks and things they want to do to the tasks and things the organisation wants to do.

This is a very powerful tool as suddenly you have the very means to ensure you are heading in the same direction.  This is how we truly acheve a Win/Win/Win situation, build strong working relationships and if applied to your customers, family and friends, more meaningful relationships all around.

OK, now the hard part – before I get to the tactics of how you work this.  Yes, it may also mean it is time to realise you are on different paths and then you need to work through a positive plan that allows both parties to move on with dignity and respect.

Putting the Rose Compass in action 
I prefer weekly meetings with staff normally between 20-30 minutes per week and unlike the norm these are not performance meetings driven by what the manager or organisation is looking to achieve.  In fact, they are the complete opposite and much more effective in my opinion.  The sessions are to check-in with the staff member and see if they are on track with their plans. Now it may take some time for you to build the trust and if you want to know how to do this please read more about He Waka Taura the talent management framework I developed with Hohepa Patea.

But once this trust is built and the staff member realises you are truly invested in their success you will find these sessions very powerful.  It starts by finding out what the staff member wants to achieve (long term) and looking at how the current role contributes to that success while also clearly showing how that the actions being taken are benefitting both parties i.e. The journey is on track.  This may mean writing down the things the staff member is looking to achieve and how they are doing that on a daily basis and then comparing this to what the organisation (or manager) is looking to achieve by writing these down side by side.

In some cases, their maybe small actions required to alter the course and armed with the information on what the staff member is looking to achieve a talented manager can show what is required for both parties to achieve their goals.  Of course if the tracks are too far apart or totally incompatible then more serious actions will need to be taken.

This method is highly successful it has helped me build very successful teams in the past, even when inheriting someone else’s staff who did not necessarily ‘warm’ to me initially I was able to forge a way forward.

You can back these meetings up with monthly performance meetings if needed but I promise you when you get the chemistry right between you and your team member you will find this approach very effective.

 

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