Posts Tagged ‘achievement’

2013 Goals – It’s all in the language

January 14, 2013

Popular targets people set for themselves are around what they want less of in the year ahead …

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  • I want to eat less chocolate
  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to be less stressed
  • I want less clutter
  • I want to work less evenings during the week

Have you ever found yourself phrasing your goals in terms of what you are trying to avoid, reduce or give up?

What we say to ourselves about the changes we want to make is crucial in achieving those changes.

When I was doing my coaching training, one thing I learned stuck in my mind … apparently the brain doesn’t process negative language the way we intend it to.

So for  “I want to eat less chocolate”, the brain doesn’t interpret that you want to reduce your chocolate intake, rather it focuses on “I want to eat ___ chocolate”.

Thinking about how I used to set goals it makes sense that this was happening with me on a conscious as well as a subconscious level. Whenever I thought about my goals I found myself reminded about what I was trying to avoid!

So focus on what you want, rather than on what you’re aiming to avoid – even if you start from the latter point, you can always re-word your goals to something more positive and achievable.

For example:

  • I want to eat fruit (or other healthier) snacks between meals
  • I want to be ___ kg (or stone/pounds!)
  • I want to have strategies I can use for stressful situations
  • I want to create a tidy home/work space
  • I want to have 3 evenings a week to spend with family/friends/chilling out

How have you worded your goals this year?

What’s your Personal Best?

September 17, 2012

Just over a week ago the closing ceremony for the Paralympics drew to a close what’s been an amazing run of success stories for athletes this summer from across the globe – both from the Olympics and the Paralympics.

Many world records were broken and many personal bests were achieved.

But you don’t have to be an athlete to achieve a Personal Best!

It could be argued that many of the 70,000 volunteers and Games Makers, who helped make both Olympics such a success, achieved ‘personal bests’ in the services they provided, such as the example of greater confidence in the previous link.

Personal bests can be achieved in a whole range of areas …

What’s the best conversation you’ve had with a colleague or friend?

What’s the best lesson you’ve taught or best bit of 1-1 tuition you’ve done?

What’s the best conference you’ve organised or meeting you’ve ever run?

What’s the best bit of mentoring or coaching you’ve done?

I’m sure you can think of other areas where you can recall your personal best.

So, why were they your best moments? How do you know – what’s your evidence?

One Head teacher I’ve worked with identified the following elements of a successful meeting with her SLT:

  • knowing what was to be achieved from the meeting
  • clarity and understanding of issues from all
  • enabling and facilitating everyone to have a voice
  • encouraging creativity
  • ensuring conclusions and next steps are identified by all (taking ownership)
  • identifying clear strategies for communication of outcomes to all staff

What would your’s be? 

Once you’ve considered personal bests in a range of areas, are there common strengths underlying each one? How can you replicate these common skills in other areas to achieve more personal bests?

The nature of personal bests mean that there’s always the potential to beat them, either by changing some equipment you are using or by changing / tweaking your actions.

What personal best will you achieve this week?

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Love What You Do #2: Stretch Yourself

February 7, 2012

… Not quite what I meant! (I’d certainly do myself an injury if I attempted this.) Although there are definitely health benefits to regular exercise, and getting up and moving about regularly if you have a desk-based/sitting down job.

In this second post in the Love what you do series, I’m talking about stretching yourself mentally … encouraging you to venture out of your comfort zone now and again to help you grow and develop!

Tip 2: Stretch yourself!

Some people love to constantly live in their stretch zone, spending much of their time trying new things, new experiences, pushing themselves physically or mentally to do or be better. I’m not suggesting that in order to love what you do more – you should be a constant stretch-zone occupant! But if you don’t step into this area now and again you’re in danger of being too comfortable …. too ‘stale’.

By stretching yourself occasionally, and learning from these new ventures, your skills and competencies will increase, leading to you feeling refreshed, re-energised, more confident and boosting your enjoyment of what you do!

Key questions

  • Which of your current activities are in your comfort zone?
  • Which are in your stretch or panic zones? (See activity here, to help with these 2 questions, if needed)
  • What’s the balance of activities in each zone? I tend to have about 70% in my comfort zone and 30% in my stretch zone, avoiding the panic zone as far as possible! But you may be different.
  • What percentages will work for you, to ensure you love what you do more?

Interested to hear your experiences on this topic.

(Photo credits: stretch, creative mind)

Motivate me! (Part 1)

January 28, 2012

Leaders beware … your staff may appear enthusiastic, driven and motivated, but is it just for show? Do your staff say what they think you want to hear, or are their responses an honest reflection of how motivated they are?

As a leader or manager it’s important to know how to motivate your team. A mistake some leaders can make is to assume, often subconsciously, that their staff will be motivated in the same way they are. After all, they all work for the same organisation and have a common goal, right? … Wrong. Having a common goal doesn’t mean each person’s motivation style will be the same.

In Staying Motivated I briefly introduced some of the different motivational styles, and discussed the towards and away from characteristics in some detail. For this blog (and Part 2) I’ll introduce a different style. But first ….. a question:

How do you know that you’ve done a good job?

It’s best to answer this question when thinking about a specific target you’ve set yourself at work, and how you’ve faired so far in your achievement of it.

Write down all your thoughts when considering your answer. Give as full and detailed an answer as you can.

In Part 2, I’ll discuss the outcomes of this little task, and the style of motivation it corresponds to.

In the meantime, feel free to share your responses to the question, in the comments section below!

(Photo: jscreationzs)

How often do you set exciting challenges for yourself?

October 3, 2011

During a recent walk through a nearby forest, which took in a Trim Trail, I came across this climbing wall. When I was young, I used to love climbing trees .. proper ‘tomboy’! As soon as I saw this I thought, “Now there’s a challenge! I’d love to have a go at that!”

Bearing in mind my tree-climbing days are well in the distant past, I think it’s fair to say I overestimated my ability to scale this wall. I think the idea is to get up to the top then down the other side …

… I managed to traverse across it from one side to the other! Nevertheless, the Outdoor Education lecturer at the Teacher Training college I attended would have been impressed … 3 points of contact on the wall at all times!

Even though I didn’t manage to achieve the full and proper use of this piece of equipment, I was very satisfied with my efforts 🙂 With a little practice (probably whilst no-one is looking!) I can see me getting over the top one day.

This was an exciting challenge rather than a daunting one. I was up for it and felt a great sense of achievement afterwards. Getting over the top will happen, it’s all about taking it one step (no pun intended!) at a time.

What kind of exciting challenges have you faced recently (both in your personal and working life)?

With these types of challenges, the excitement provides the added adrenalin which gets you through. For me, the motivation for doing this challenge came from the feeling I would get during and after it. Exciting challenges are perhaps those ones which are short-term, and ones where you’ll get a quick buzz from completing them.

Setting yourself exciting challenges on a regular basis does wonders for confidence and an overall sense of wellbeing. Daunting challenges have a different feel as you approach them. More on that topic in a different blog.

A postcard from the future

March 9, 2011

If you were to send yourself a postcard from the future, say a year from now, what would you like it to say?

  • What will be different about you?
  • What will your business / career look like?
  • What will have changed about your daily routine?
  • What challenges have you overcome?

… And what does this tell you about what you need to do over the next 12 months?

Although you won’t know exactly where you’ll be, you may well have goals, plans, dreams, or desires; and this is a good starting point!

So imagine what you in a year will be doing, and consider what advice you’d give yourself to achieve what you’ve achieved.

Some examples …

Hi (your name),

Business is going great guns. My clients are loving my newly developed service! I’m much more confident about delivering seminars, and am excited about moving to new premises in 3 months.

My advice? Keep believing you can do it and continue to learn from those around you.

Dear _____

I’ve figured out how to deal with the communication issues at work! I’ve enlisted the help of an expert, who helped me identify why our current systems weren’t working. We now have really effective communication strategies in place, staff are much happier, and there are far fewer misunderstandings.

Advice? Don’t try to do it all yourself. You’re not Wonder Woman / Superman. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness! Learn from it and add it to your skill set.

Hi _____

Feeling much fitter and healthier, and enjoying a well deserved break! Changing my diet has given me a lot more energy, which means I’m much more productive both at home and work. It wasn’t easy, but having small targets spread out over the year was the key success factor.

My main piece of advice: Start making small changes now, and don’t be hard on yourself if you lapse occasionally. It’s all progress, and you’ll get there!

So what would your postcard say?


(Photo courtesy of Anankkml)

Celebrating achievements

February 28, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 28!!

We work hard, we have expectations of ourselves, we set ourselves targets and goals … but what happens when we achieve them?

Do we celebrate the achievements or ignore them?

Do we share the success with others or keep it to ourselves?

And does our ability to celebrate depend what the achievement is / how big it is?

Today I celebrate the end of my 28 Day Blog Challenge. As my reward, I have booked some time out to walk in Derbyshire. I am also sharing my success in this blog, as well as a blog to come (28 Day Blog Challenge Learnings). Nevertheless, experience has shown me that people I’ve worked with or coached spend less time celebrating success than they do thinking about what’s not gone well. Feelings of disappointment or general satisfaction of personal performance seem to far outweigh the joy of achievement.

Perhaps not everyone needs to feel good about their successes.

But what happens when the achievements are those of members of our team?

As team leaders, do we provide them with a quiet compliment, something more public, or does it go unnoticed? I appreciate that not everyone needs praise or recognition; and there’s not always time during busy working days to compliment colleagues on all their successes. So what’s the right balance?

This year I have been taking part in a business growth program, and the first part of our monthly meetings is sharing our business successes with other members of the group. This has proven to not only get the meetings off to a positive start, but kept us motivated (as well as accountable!)

So how often do you celebrate your achievements?


(Photos: balloons; jump for joy; fireworks)

Staying motivated!

February 3, 2011

Day 3 of my 28 Day Blog Challenge

Yesterday I shared with you some of my thoughts around the planning of my 28 day blog challenge. Today I’m focusing on the potentially tricky area of staying motivated.

Sustaining motivation was one of the top areas (from my recent goal setting research) identified as a potential obstacle for attaining goals. So I thought I’d address this, in part, sooner rather than later, in case anyone has started hitting that ‘wall’ yet with their goals!

Before I explore styles of motivation, it’s important to say that I wanted to ensure that I was interested in my goal in the first place. So my blogging topics had to be things I was interested in writing about and, hopefully, readers would find interesting to read! So make sure your goal interests/inspires/excites you, otherwise you could be in trouble.

So how are you motivated? I think it’s a hard question to answer in isolation, and needs to be asked in a context, i.e. the particular goal/target you’re working towards.

One of the first things I do when coaching clients towards their goals is explore their motivational traits for that goal. There are a range: internal/external, proactive/reactive, options/procedures, but for this blog I’m going to look at the Towards / Away from trait. I know from past experience that I am generally motivated “towards” my goals, rather than “away from” staying the same (where no change would happen). There is no right or wrong here, and both are about forward motion. You’re likely to be one style or the other, but about 20% of the population are a bit of both.

Knowing my motivational preference for my goal helps me plan to avoid the tough times. So, here are some pointers for each style:

If you’re motivated towards your goal you’ll benefit from:

  • identifying your rewards at the outset for achievement of your goal;
  • reminding yourself what your goal is and why you want it;
  • breaking your goal into manageable chunks; and
  • recognizing the progress you are making / you’ve made

If you’re motivated away from your current situation you’ll be motivated by:

  • giving yourself deadlines;
  • seeing tasks as challenges;
  • putting yourself under some pressure (but don’t get stressed out!); and
  • reminding yourself of what will happen if you don’t complete your tasks / achieve your goal

Remember, these are just some of the traits/styles of motivation. Look out for future blogs on the other styles, and let me know if this is an area you’d like to hear more about. If you’re interested in this topic, I recommend Words that change minds by Shelle Rose Charvet, which I’ve found very useful for my coaching and training.

(Photo courtesy of Renjith Krishnan)