Build ‘your’ system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Building your network 101

Whether you are in business or wanting to build a network to increase career options here are a few simple steps to help you get started – even if you are a naturally shy person.

  1.  Make sure you have the following assets for yourself.  A good personal website, professional Linkedin profile, An profile, both a personal and networking Facebook page (Business page if you happen to own a business). Twitter Account.
  2. Start to find people via these social media products to study and when you find people you admire or look up to – promote them via your website and social media pages.
  3. Let them know you like their information and that you are sharing.
  4. Start to write ‘great’ content yourself, make sure it comes from the heart, it is good for everyone and add your personal experiences and touches to connect your material to you.

The more you take action the better chance you have of building your network, building your brand and learning from others as you research what you like and who is writing it.

and have FUN while you are doing it.

Take Care – hope this was helpful for you.


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
  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).

A good nights sleep

I have struggled with sleep for quite a few years.  Here are some tips I found very helpful for getting that elusive ‘good nights sleep’.

– Drink water regularly throughout the day and make sure your meals are healthy and well-balanced. The chemicals and toxins in processed foods make your liver and kidneys work harder, which can interrupt your sleep cycle.

– Do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise during the day. Exercise helps to reduce blood pressure and muscle tension, relieve stress and burn off excess energy.

– Avoid having stimulants such as caffeine late in the day, as this will make it hard for your brain to ‘switch off’ at night. Also avoid having alcohol at night if you’re trying to get a good sleep (one glass of wine at dinner shouldn’t hurt, but excessive amounts of alcohol will impair your quality of sleep).

– Don’t eat too late at night, as this will keep your digestive system working away while you are trying to fall asleep, which can impair sleep quality. Especially try to avoid eating too much protein, fat or sugar at night (stick mainly to healthy carbs and veges).

– Try drinking a green or herbal tea in the evening to help you to relax.

– Add a touch of lavender to your bedroom. Studies have proven that lavender aids in sleep. You can get sprays containing real lavender, which you can spray onto your pillow or sheets, or simply have a small bunch of lavender flowers at your bedside.

– Do some gentle yoga or stretching before you go to bed. This will help to release tension from your muscles and relax your body.

– Have a bedtime routine. For instance, brushing your teeth, washing your face, getting changed into pajamas, and then reading or doing another relaxing activity for 20 minutes before turning out the light.

– Make sure you are going to bed at a reasonable time (so you will get 8-10 hours of sleep). Try to keep this bedtime as consistent as possible.

– Don’t do anything too stimulating right before bed, as this will mean your body will take longer to relax (e.g. avoid reading off bright screens, playing computer games, doing work, or exercising too late at night).

– Write any pressing thoughts down before you go to bed (so your mind doesn’t keep going over them at night). It may be something that is worrying you, something you need to remember to do the next day, or an idea that has come into your mind.

– Turn your cellphone off or onto ‘silent’ mode so that you will not be woken up by the phone or be tempting to pursue a conversation with someone.

– Make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature.

– It’s really important that you are comfortable before you try to fall asleep – make sure you are warm (or cool) enough and have a comfortable bed and bedding arrangement. A comfortable bed is a great investment!

– When you are trying to fall asleep, practice some simple meditation. While lying down in bed, close your eyes and focus on nothing but your breathing for 5-10 minutes.

Although it may take time to get into a new sleeping pattern, the benefits to your energy levels and mindset from getting a good night’s rest will be well worth it!