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 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.


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).


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.



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?

Building your brand

Whether you are a business, organisation or an individual, building your brand is the one activity that starts when you are born and will continue with you until your final days.  A great brand will live on forever in the memories of those you touched positively while a bad brand will suddenly find you losing customers, employment opportunities, partners, family and friends.

So what is your brand?

More than a 150 years ago, cattle ranchers used branding irons to indicate which animals were theirs.   As the cattle moved across the plains on their way to the slaughter house, it was easy to determine which ranches they were from because each head of cattle was branded.

In modern days “your brand” is almost related to everything you do.  Celebrities live and die on their brand and believe it or not so do we as individuals, companies and not for profit organisations.  A brand today relates to how we look, how we are perceived by those who already know us, how we act, how we present ourselves, what we say, how we use Social Media (Yes, especially for you teenagers it’s how you use Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat).  Almost every action we take can have a positive or negative impact on our brand.  Today building your brand and destroying your brand is getting easier and easier.

For Business

Companies for years have understood about building their brands, you only have to look at the impact Coke has made over the last few decades with highly successful advertising and brand building campaigns depicting that Coke drinkers lead youthful, fun and exciting lives – and they have been extremely successful.  Today they have to counter the negative reality that too much sugar in our diet is detrimental to our health.  So how will they ‘save’ their brand?  Changing the makeup of Coca Cola may not have the desired effect as the Coke brand is built on the way it looks and tastes, and how it makes us feel, for many the taste they use to love is now too sickening to drink.

So, will sales of ‘Pump’ water save Coca Cola?

Most organisations looking to hire people understand the importance of their employment branding, well you hope they would.  The reality is many organisations over the past few years have forgotten what a brand really is and although they may have been painting a wonderful story with some expensive advertising campaign, the very recruitment process backing up this campaign is quickly destroying their brand and their ability to hire the top talent they really want.  They have basically taken the ‘human’ side out of the recruitment process in order to streamline the hunt for staff, instead of focused on the full brand experience and understood that the first real contact made with people needs to be treated in a very different manner.  Of course there are many organisations who have woken up to this mistake and are taking their recruitment a lot more seriously.

The ATS systems are being replaced by people dedicated to finding the right people for their teams, recruitment a skill that most hiring managers use to have in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s is now back in the hands of those educated managers who understand the value of taking the important responsibility of identifying the people they are looking to hire, and building a relationship with them, reducing the risk of hiring them by evaluating and reserching their backgrounds while understanding that they too are representing the organisations brand,  and setting a strong impression with their own personal brand.

Hiring people in the future is going to look a lot different from the late 90’s and today.  Well for the organisations that want the top talent it will.

For individual people

As we become more successful in whatever field we choose to pursue our brand grows and depending on the way we act, or more important are seen to act our brand is established in people’s minds.  Yes, brands are only established by the way people think about us.

So like anything in the mind a brand can be changed, or built on, or if we are not careful destroyed.  The fact is whatever we do we will build a brand that some people will love, some people will like and some people may not care for.  The trick for us as individuals is taking the time to think about building the brand we would like to have with people we like to live, work and play with.  We also need to understand it is very hard to build one brand so those who try and juggle two (My ‘business’ brand & my ‘personal’ brand) will not only find this task difficult but if they have distinct differences, you are more than likely going to ‘get’ found out.  Your true brand is the one you will be buried with.

How do I build my brand?

The tricky thing is to understand what we are looking to build.  My personal approach albeit a little morbid, is for you to take sometime to think about the end.  Imagine your funeral, what are the people (who turned up) saying about you, to each other (not your eulogy, cause thats more likely going to be only focused on the positive) but what are they really saying about you.

Next step is, what would you like them to say about you? This is your brand.  Now you can go about working on how to build it.

The next stage is to decide what values you would like to live by, and try and apply those when you approach your daily life.  Building a strong positive brand takes hard work, but if you are consistent, persistent and true to yourself you can build a great brand.  Because a great brand is not only about how we look, act, treat others and contribute to our chosen communities, workplaces, clients it’s about how we think and more importantly how everyone around us who cares to know us and who really does not know us thinks about us.

Don’t just think about how your future client or boss thinks about you.  Think as much about the person at reception who gets that first impression from you (yes they will share it with their boss).  Think about the person you provided services too as much as about the person you provide services for. Think about those people who may know the people you know, think about the stranger or future employer or client who reads your Facebook page posts, personal website, or LinkedIn profile and you will really start to get an understand what your brand truly is.

Is it time to work on your brand?






Becoming Great – Part 4 “Getting noticed and making impact”

In part 4 of my series for becoming great I would like to share my tips for you on how to get noticed, that does not mean getting noticed by everyone, but getting noticed and appreciated by those who matter.  Whether those people be, our family (kids), bosses, work colleagues or customers.

Engage your ears, not your mouth.
In any situation you find yourself in whether it be at home, at work or on the sports field.  Try and be in the moment ‘Be Here Now’ take in the conversations, arguments and ideas of those around you.  Do not let other activities distract your focus on the topic, or situation at hand. If you have been asked to contribute thoughts, provide some comment initially but use questions to dig deeper into what those around you are thinking. Speak less and ask questions more.

By talking less and listening more, often the ‘more impact’ you will have when you do speak. People will start to listen to your ideas more.  However, be smart, find out all the facts, and become the person known for wanting to explore all the options and details. You do not have to be the smartest person in the room, but you can be the most impactful, simply by being the better listener.

Timing is everything.  Wait, until all the thoughts, arguments and ideas are in the room, then speak for the first time from a different viewpoint.

Do your Research
Simple, but the more you prepare the better equipped you will be to make meaningful contributions when you need to.  When you share your ideas, back it up with fact, and if possible great stats or data.  Don’t just come up with a view, or you maybe setting yourself up for a hiding.

Explore different views
Smart people around the world understand that a diverse approach is the most effective and most likely to come up with more ideas and different solutions.  Be the person who seeks out different views from different cultures, people with differing stances, approaches.  Try and think outside the box by exploring more.  If you are an employer hire different people from different cultures, ages and backgrounds and build a business that is based on quality information from different sources.  Find out how ‘it’ impacts everyone not just what it means for someone like you.

If you do not have different views in a meeting, then be the one to suggest seeking out those views, take charge of gathering the information and you will become known as the person who finds the best results.

Never repeat
People only hear it the first time; after that, it’s diluted and they switch off and forget the point you made. You may think you are making a point but your silence will be more powerful after you have shared your thought …

Take notes
Have your journal and pen with you at all times, take notes and arm yourself with the information being shared in the room.  You will be forced to listen more as you write down what others are saying and your notes will provide you with ammunition when it comes time to think, analyse then speak.

Tone and volume
Don’t yell, don’t whisper, don’t screech. The greatest speakers in the world all take lessons so don’t be afraid to follow in their footsteps.

Speak from your heart not your head
Be careful with this, make sure before you speak from your heart that your head is full of different ideas and facts.  Only then are you ready to give a passionate viewpoint.

You don’t have to have the last word
In fact if you have said what you think (for now) then leave it there, let others argue, you end as you begun – the best listener in the room.

Becoming Great – part 3 Body language, Work Ethic, Energy levels, Attitude & passion.

In Part 3 of the ‘becoming great’ series I am focusing on things that we all know about , but maybe sometimes take for granted, not realising the huge impact. I’ll call these your ‘book cover signs’ – people read you by them, and judge you for them.

  1. Body Language
  2. Work Ethic
  3. Energy Levels
  4. Attitude & Passion

These all marry perfectly for me when I think of harmony and balance.  A long time ago I met an awesome Naturopath/Osteopath ‘Derek’.  He was one of those people you meet in your life that makes a massive impact, and not only helped me with some physical issues he also helped me to better understand about stress, how to manage this and how important finding balance was to us all.  When we are out of balance we will tip over and it usually means we spend time sick at home or turning into the person no one wants to be around.

In terms of balance I learnt to respect the four pillars that needed to be taken care of and although I can confess I still get ‘out of whack’ by neglecting one of the pillars from time to time, when push comes to shove I know it is important to work on all of these, all of the time.

  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Spiritual health
  • Emotional health

So lets take a closer look at the pillars and later on we will talk about how they relate to how others will perceive us.  The key to stop getting out of balance is to keep working on all the pillars, all of the time. By taking control on these and consciously working on them we can achieve balance and ensure we have all the ‘book cover signs’ sorted.

I must confess from time to time I fall out of sync and find myself playing catch up (usually on the physical things I should be working on) but sometimes on it may be any one of the pillars I have neglected – life has a way of throwing correction ‘signals’ when we do this and they often are seen by our loved ones, friends and work colleagues before we realise we need to stop and ‘take stock’.

Mental Health – We all need to nourish our brains and understand that learning is a part of life, and you will never stop.  So for me mental health is about nourishing my brain by reading, spending time with people I can learn from and looking each week at things that are going to help keep my mind sharp and provide ‘new nourishment’ for my mental health.

I admire those people who play instruments or have fantastic hobbies that constantly provide the mental nourishment they require. When we learn something new there is a real sense of accomplishment and re enforcement of our self-worth, you will find you carry yourself a little taller, work a little harder, feel good about yourself and have renewed energy and have a much more positive outlook and passion for life.

So work on your mental health if not daily every week.

Physical Health – Many of us understand the importance of physical health and put a lot of time into working out, eating the right food and watching our weight – and yes we should do this work but it is just as important for us to find time to work on our other pillars.

The great thing about Physical Health I find it is actually the easiest to correct and get back on track when needed.  A simple 30-60 minute walk a day will make all the difference, and if you are eating right you will find you will be feeling good, looking good and have the right attitude.  For me walking is does wonders for me, it allows me to work on my physical and emotional state (For me walking is a wonderful form of meditation that helps also work on reducing daily stress) thus also working on my emotional state.

Spiritual Health– You maybe religious or you may be like me, someone who needs to spend time with nature, whether that is walking on the beach or in the bush, or just taking time to sit for a while and take in the beauty of nature that surrounds me. Visiting my spiritual home (Hongoeka Marae) or just catching up with friends that share my passion for life, does help me.  Looking back on my family history, not dwelling on it but just understanding where I have come from has also been a big help to me spiritually.

Understanding my values is important to me and having a set of values that positively affects me, the people I come into contact with and the universe I find very helpful with my spiritual outlook.

This is a harder one for me to explain because I feel it can be very different for everyone but that is OK, find what relaxes you, brings you back to a calm state, makes you a better person, and makes you a great person to be around, this is what you need to work on.

Learn about meditation, mindfulness or being at peace with yourself and you should find a  positive spiritual state. There are many forms of meditation, walking, practicing the art of meditation, fishing, just sitting somewhere with nature …

Be mindful of others and how we treat everyone and everything we interact with, because if we were all positive, forgiving and caring of everyone we meet, what would the world really look like?

Emotional Health – For me this is all about being mindful of my own actions and reactions to events and others around me as well as being mindful of those I come into contact with and how they maybe feeling.  Making the decision to be happy everyday regardless of what is going on and understanding that when we acheive this we truly acheive living a fulfilling and happy life.

For me the approach that works is to appreciate life everyday and spend time just thinking about and enjoying what I have.  Sitting thinking about what I don’t have, or what others may have I think is destructive and poisonous to your emotional state.

Do not let others actions and emotions dictate your outlook for the day.  In fact if you take the approach of giving and helping others when you can, you will notice that the positive effect on the people around you help will not only improve their day this will give your emotional state a massive positive boost.

Life is not a destination, it is all about the journey so why not work hard to be happy everyday, and help those around us to be happy as well.  Just try and let go of the stress others put upon you (takes practice) e.g. the guy that cut you off when you were driving to work, the argument you had with your partner this morning, forgive them and just move on and get your emotions back on track.  Be the bigger person and first to forgive and forget, don;t fool yourself with mind games that are really just self destructive and frankly a waste of time – yes I am talking from experience.

If it does not kill you it will only make you stronger, but this only occurs if we approach things positively and we learn from the event.  Let’s allow ourselves the time during the day no matter what is happening around us, to look at the positive things in our life and appreciate them.

I know this is hard somedays, but believe me if you can work on being happy everyday, then you will find that emotionally you will be in a great place and all of your ‘book cover signs’ will say ‘I have got it together’ ‘I am great, thanks’.

Lets face it, for many of us it is our emotions that blow things out of perspective, that cause’s us the most stress and effect those around us the most, but know we also have the ability to control these and choose to be happy or not.  Yes there are things that make us unhappy, mad, sad, frustrated but if we can bring ourselves back to appreciating what is positive in our lives and let emotions that ‘bring us down’ past quickly or at least be interupted we can have happiness everyday.

You will find people that are experienced at meditation and practice mindfulness manage their emotional health the best.  This is definately a pillar you work on everyday and some days events will make this hard on you, so what I recommend is go for a walk (especially if you find yourself in a heated situation at work or home) take in the surroundings, clear you head and be happy. Master this skill and become truly great.

So there is a lot to take in here. Because to get all four ‘Book Cover Signs in order’ we need to actually focus on the ’cause and effect’ by first of all getting our balance right.  You see I believe when you are out of balance, then it will show and without you knowing others will pickup that things are not quite right with you.

Other than buddist monks who have trained for long periods of time, things affect us and events will throw us.  We can bring ourselves back into balance by making a daily effort to think about how we can keep our balance, live happy, healthy lives that make a contribution to our world.







Becoming Great – Part 2 Timeliness & Time Management

Becoming great is the art of developing yourself into that person, people want to hire, buy from, listen to, and regard as being dependable.  This is how you get recommended and your actions truly reward your hard work.  Yes, you can still be humble yet develop a reputation for ‘being great’.

Following on from Part 1 of being great the second set of skills I would like you to consider are the following;

  • Timeliness
  • Time Management

For most of us experienced workers some of these things will seem like the obvious, but yet still many of us will disregard the importance we placed on these skills when we were young and boss’s or mentors drummed these skills into us.  The truth is, regardless of your age, all these skills are essential and if we wish to become great they should be practiced every day in every way.

Being on time and having strong time management skills are both equally important but are also two different skills.  My whole life I have been aware of the fact I did not want to let people down by being late to meetings or appointments.  Certainly being late for work was something I was always mindful of and still are.  Luckily I work for myself so I am most likely to let myself down if I do not get up and get working to the schedule I have planned, but I know that to be great I must stick to the plan and meet my own schedule.

There is nothing more frustrating than waiting around for someone who does not make a meeting in time.  If we truly want to be known as great we should want to be also known as the person who “never lets you down” is “always on time”.  With good planning this is very achievable.  Here are some simple tips to help you be timely;

  1. Always schedule yourself time during the day and schedule time between meetings – that means book it out and work hard to meet those times.  For me that maybe 30 minutes but for some of you that maybe 15 minutes dependant on where the meetings are and how much preparation for the meeting is required.  At best you will make all your meetings that involve others and only slip up on the times you set aside for yourself.  At worst you will see how much you can actually achieve in a day.
  2. If you are travelling great distances always allow time for delays and book yourself plenty of time and anticipate delays.
  3. Always confirm meetings in the morning with your contacts, either by email or text is fine.  This simple act will re enforce to you the importance of planning your time well that day as well as help to ensure you are not left hanging by the person/s you are expecting to meet.
  4. Let people know how much time you have for the meeting when it starts so that you can close off (and reschedule if needed) any meetings that are likely to push your times out for the day.
  5. For meetings where there is likely to be a wait or disruption to the time i.e. Doctors’ appointments, meetings with people you know always run over time, make sure you do not schedule meetings too soon after this.  In my case often I will not schedule any other meetings for the day but will schedule time for me to do tasks, work on my projects, therefore, ensuring the only person I am likely to let down is myself.
  6. When you are scheduling meetings with people that you know are not great with their time, schedule these meetings at the end of your day – you will soon learn how to cancel or postpone meetings with people that do not value time as much as you.
  7. If you know you are likely to be late, as soon as you realise this advise the person you are meeting with and “buy yourself more time”.  Still not ideal but better than just being late.  If this is happening often (more than once a week) then frankly you are a long way from being great.

Time Management
I was lucky enough to be taught strong time management skills when I was still in my teenage years.  These skills were honed more when I became a time management trainer for Day-Timer’s (A planner and goal planning system I still use today 40 years on). These skills have helped me achieve many things in my life and have helped me appreciate how powerful it can be when you engage this skill on a daily basis.

Firstly, Time Management is not you managing time, it is simply you managing your own activities to get the most out of your day.  To become a great time manager you must first learn how to plan.  To become a great planner, you need to understand the reason why you are making a plan I.e. have identified dreams and goals that you wish to achieve written down on paper.  So for me developing your time management skills starts first by writing down your dreams.

  1. Mind mapping my dreams
    Most recently (last 2-3 years) I have moved to developing my mind mapping skills for documenting my dreams. I find this tool and skillset very valuable as it allows me to see the big picture in a single glance while also letting me drill down further into the areas I most want to focus on.  Mind mapping also taps into your creative brain and helps you with your own brainstorming – I find it very powerful.  If, however mind mapping is not for you, then you must at least write down (using paper and pen) your dreams.The most powerful way of checking yourself when you are writing down your dreams is to add a WHY statement, this will help you focus on dreams that match your values (things most precious to you). The better the reason WHY the more likelihood of success.
  2. Annual Plan
    The second phase for me is establishing my plan for the year, starting with a top level plan documenting all the goals (especially those that will help you realise your long term dreams) and the actions I would like to complete in that year that allow me to tick off with confidence my progress towards attaining my dream. I find this process very motivating, and although changes may happen I still get excited after new year when I get into this planning process.My annual plan then will be broken down into tasks usually numbered but in no particular order.  I use a journal for this process and more often than not find I “over plan” which is all OK, it is a part of the process.  You simply then go into prioritise mode and start to work out what are you most important “Dreams” and then reduce your actions down to focus on achieving the goals that will help you realise those dreams.This process can take me weeks if not months during the beginning of the year.  I find I start working on my most important goals (Dreams) initially and then start to work on secondary goals later.

    The final stage of this plan is to assign which months I am going to start working on the goals and tasks – for me this is a guide as you will review this each month throughout the year.

  1. Monthly Plan
    At the beginning of the month I will then write down in my Day-Timer’s planner the goals for this month. These are things I want to achieve before the end of the month and are simply listed – not prioritised (yet).  Again this list can be long, but over the years I have learnt to simplify this list and stick to half a dozen main goals only.  If you achieve all these goals, then it is exciting that you can speed up your plan and maybe bring forward goals or tasks originally planned for later in the year – this is being “ahead of schedule” and gives you positive motivation.The opposite happens when you over pan your month and feel you have not achieved.  Do not set yourself up to fail.You will review your monthly plan at the beginning of next month and bring forward the items still not actioned, maybe even rescheduling them for the future.  Your main dream should never need to be rescheduled, if it is you need to reassess how important it really is to you.During my review and beginning of the next month’s plan (for me this is usually done during the last week of the month being completed and forms part of the daily planning session I have with myself) you will also review your annual plan and revisit your dream map/s to reinforce the WHY.  This action usually pushes my daily planning time from 20-30 minutes out to 40-60 minutes every day.
  1. Daily Plan
    The next stage for me is my daily plan, some people actually break into weekly plans, but I find I do this on Monday morning while I am preparing my daily plan, pushing items to other days as I prioritise things. Monday to Friday I start the day with my planning session (Sometimes on Saturday and Sunday but rarely as I like my downtime and usually spend much of this time with family or personal recreational activities I find useful for my soul, and yes catching up on housework).  Saturday’s and Sundays are usually well planned during my working week.This planning time is the most powerful time you have to achieve your dreams and goals.  It is during this time you will also learn the most about yourself and start to realign and realise what really is most important to you.NB: Doing a personal session on values and dreams is very important and most of us need help initially from a person with the appropriate skills to do this.  If, however, you follow the planning process as outlined above you may find you develop the skills to achieve this yourself (this maybe the long way of getting there).Personally I use my Planner and the ABC, 123 system of prioritising my tasks each day in my daily plan.  My slight variation to that taught by many of the planning experts of the 1980’s where I learnt this skill looks like this;

    ‘A’ items are those most important to me and usually comprise of A1 Planning, then the following 2-3 items maximum of tasks I can achieve that meet goals, that help me achieve my dreams. You prioritise these tasks 1, 2, 3 etc. and action them accordingly.

    A* tasks are urgent tasks I need to do that day for someone else E.g. posting a job on my jobsite JobCafe for a client etc.  These sort of tasks pop up during the day and are simply added to the list, I usually try to action these immediately if I have time.

    ‘B’ items are those things I need to complete that day to help keep away unnecessary stress I.e. tasks I just need to get done such as Tax returns, tasks for my family, etc. I try to again only do a few of these and schedule them throughout the week if possible so I make sure I have time to action my ‘A’ tasks that are related to my goals & dreams every day.

    ‘C’ items are things we think of that would be nice to get done that day, they often get carried over and either become ‘B’ or ‘A’ tasks at a later date.

    Throughout my daily planning session, I am aware of the time I have to achieve each task.  This is achieved by looking at my calendar and ‘confirmed’ appointments.  For you souls’ sake you are always better to reduce the plan than put too much into a plan for the day I.e. You can always do more if you find time, but it can be demoralising if you are constantly pushing stuff to the next day and are not ticking of tasks and goals you set for yourself.

    You will also have tasks and actions you work on every day that take longer to complete, for these you may break these goals, tasks into project plans and break them down to items you can tick off as you achieve them each day.

Reward yourself
Finally, it really is important you reward yourself when you achieve milestones.  A milestone is a significant marker in any given project that enables you to recognise your progress.

The act of ticking of each task that gets dome every day is a small celebration in itself, and there have been many studies that confirm that this positive action sends good vibrations and signals to your brain that make you feel happy and inspire you to move on.

Achieving milestones should be at an even greater level, it may mean you reward yourself to a special treat or event E.g.  Lunch out to a favourite restaurant or café, or night out at the movies or a massage.  This helps you to celebrate the achievement and maintain motivation to drive forward to completion and final success.  Used often by great talent managers to help inspire and develop and reward teams, it can also be used by yourself for exactly the same reasons.

I think I have covered the basics, and yes there is much more detail you can learn and develop but if you do follow the process above it will also help you to discover how to customise this and develop your own planning and time management skills that lead to achieving goals and attaining dreams.  Ideally you will develop a plan that helps you keep balanced and healthy, spending time on your emotional, spiritual and mental goals as well as moving positively towards attaining your dreams.

Whatever you do remember it must be measurable and it must be recorded and measured every day.  Handwriting on paper is much more spiritual and meaningful than typing into technology as it brings into play other senses.  Again for your master plan/s, mind mapping brings into play your creative talents.  Over time you will start to develop your time management and planning skills, and learn tricks of the trade to ensure you maximise the time you have in any given day.

The perfect day for me is achieving the goals I have set and still having extra time to work on something else of great value to me.  These days I try and make sure that is every day and schedule less to achieve much more.  This for me helps me to achieve the very rewarding personal goal of happiness – every day.

I hope you find this very helpful – and if you master this skill I believe you are a long way towards becoming great.


Becoming great – part 1 loyalty

Over the following months I will share some thoughts, ideas and I hope inspirations on skills you should develop that help those of you who are looking for that next job, or deciding that maybe going into business yourself is a good move (and it probably is) but truly want to become great.

Where do these ideas, thoughts come from?
My experience, the books I read that truly resonate with me, and the people I meet on a daily basis that help me better understand myself and the different perspectives they have on the world around us.  The ideas I share with you I believe are universal and if you start the journey to developing these skills, you will be on a very positive path.

Skill – Loyalty
You may not think it is a skill, but if you can develop anything, to me is a skill.  In the case of loyalty, it is not just a great skill it is one of those attributes that will gain you lifelong respect and help you get through the tough times when those around you whom are less loyal choose to falter.

Wikipedia describes “Loyalty” as;
Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause. Philosophers disagree on what can be an object of loyalty as some argue that loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of loyalty.

The idea has been treated by writers from Aeschylus through John Galsworthy to Joseph Conrad, by psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, scholars of religion, political economists, scholars of business and marketing, and—most particularly—by political theorists, who deal with it in terms of loyalty oaths and patriotism. The subject had received “scant attention in philosophical literature”. This he attributed to “odious” associations that the subject had with nationalism, including Nazism, and with the metaphysics of idealism, which he characterized as “obsolete”. He argued that such associations were, however, faulty, and that the notion of loyalty is “an essential ingredient in any civilized and humane system of morals”. Kleinig observes that from the 1980s onwards, the subject gained attention, with philosophers variously relating it to professional ethics, whistleblowing, friendship, and virtue theory.

Now here’s my simple definition;
Loyalty is the act of faith and devotion to environment, humanity, your community (town, city, region and country (and in that order), to your workmates, business partners, team mates, boss’s, customers, clients, suppliers, family and friends and most of all to yourself.

In my personal case it also means loyalty to my Iwi, Marae and extended whanau.

Loyal ‘people’ are the ones you depend on whom never let you down, they are always there when you need them, the people whom give you good advice, whether you like it or not, and these are the people you should always be loyal too.  Loyal people are positive people; negative people should be avoided where possible.

Loyalty is not like love, although if you truly love someone you will work hard to be loyal to them.

In all cases – It has to be reciprocal or it will surely fail.

The one measure of true loyalty is time.

A change in loyalty?
Yes I believe loyalty can change, and the key to developing Loyalty as a skill is to ensure it does not fail due to your actions, thoughts or intentions.  You need to work at Loyalty, you need to be conscious everyday as you make decisions that affect those you are looking to be loyal too, and this is not the easiest skill.  The way to be effective is to make sure you take the time to think about how your actions will affect those you wish to be loyal too.

You should be loyal to yourself, if organisations, people or teams you are associated with are not loyal to you then by the simple fact that there is no reciprocation the loyalty (based on trust) is broken and maybe for you it is time to move on.  In saying this you can be loyal to organisations, people and teams and they can still be loyal to you, but you both understand the need to move on, which means the loyalty can remain intact – this is achieved through good communication and using simple tools like the “rose compass” which I will talk about another time.

With loyalty comes trust and together these skills will help you in many ways throughout your life.  In the work situation it may mean a promotion, and more freedom to make decisions (empowerment).  With loved ones the trust should be explicitly intertwined and if strained can be rebuilt, but that is a decision you will make when the time comes.  With teams it will mean “mana”  prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma – “mana” is a supernatural force in a person, place or object.

Benefits of being loyal
The major benefits of loyalty are already described above, but the other benefits you will find appear at the most appropriate times, like all trained skills often it will kick in automatically when needed I.e. To stop a child running onto a busy street, or to make the decisive pass that wins you the game, or to put in that extra effort and time at work because you know your business or your bosses business needs it, to help out a neighbour or to consciously support the local store.

The statistics
Loyalty is linked to success, a friend of mine has spent years tracking the formula for successful sports teams around the world.  These clubs include some of the greatest Football, Rugby, Cricket and other teams he has an interest in.  The fact that he keeps finding is that clubs and teams that are loyal to their players (and academy players) around the world are those that are most successful, on a regular basis.  Those clubs and teams that constantly throw big money at players struggle to win leagues and championships on a regular basis.  Those that develop talent in an environment that is mutually loyal succeed and when they are at the top of the game, keep on top using this same formula.  Yes many of them still import players with skills they do not possess but always they retain and nurture a core group of people they are loyal to for long periods of time.

I suspect this is the same for businesses that last the longest and grow the strongest balance sheets.

Making the world a better place through loyalty
When times get tough, those most loyal to us are the ones we depend on to help us through, and to reciprocate (And we should do this) we should ensure we share in the good times with them.  The same should apply to our customers and if you ever need a reason to be loyal to your locally owned stores and businesses look at those in your community who most support the community (not just market about it) but actually step up and support the community, financially, physically and passionately.

One of my many passions is to see my local businesses thrive, where investment decisions into our local community are not made by marketing managers based in other cities or even other countries, especially in our western word where many corporates are very much driven by profit and loss, and those profits are stripped from your community to prop up a lifestyle and economy thousands of miles from your own.  Not all corporations are like this but unfortunately I think the majority are not really that loyal to you and your community.

Moving forward- being great
So I hope you get the “iho” of this message.  Iho = heart, essence, inside, inner core, essential quality, nature.  Start consciously thinking about building your success foundation on Loyalty, reap the benefits described above and make yourself that person everyone wants to hire or purchase from.

It will not always be easy (nothing really worthwhile is), and at times being loyal can be challenging, you most probably will have to work on it daily, but it will be worthwhile and the benefits are truly great.




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