Is it your fault?

What would you say if I told you it’s your fault?

What would you say if a project you were involved in failed, and I told you, you had some part to blame for it?

How would you react when the person you just had a huge argument with and who was also hugely reactionary, said they were merely reacting to you?

What sort of response would you give if your co-workers believed you could brush up on your communication skills?

And what would you say, if I turned to you and said, “It’s your fault anyway”.

How would you feel?
How would you react?

What if, when the temper that rose then settled down and you considered, quietly, in your own time, that  the turn of events took place in response to your behaviour, your words and your action?

What if, you brought on, what you feel was caused by someone else?

Would you like to know a universal truth?
Everyone wants to be loved.

Everyone wants to be cherished, to be valued and to be heard. And if they are not, then they may react in a number of ways, which to some extent, is dependent on their life experiences and how they have been treated.

Some react by enveloping themselves in sadness. They may accept their situation or they may not but they feel they are victims – they cannot surpass or overcome it. They cave in to it. They are in despair and in grief.

Others react in anger and desperation. They don’t accept their situation but they need to make their case. They lash out at those around them. They cause hurt before hurt is caused. They view everything through the lens of their hurt; consequently, everything is viewed as happening to them, for them or in relation to them, regardless of whether it is so.

Whether they react, wallow or lash out, consciously or not,  they want to protect themselves, to insulate themselves from more pain and anguish.

If you are mindful of this as you see every word, thought or deed that ensues, you can potentially change things for yourself and for the hurt person. Otherwise, you merely react to what you see in front of you and the cycle continues.

Someone must be the bigger person. Someone must be willing to pause. Someone must see what is really at stake.

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Why you need to be ok with venturing out, venturing alone

Striving for balance you can live with

One of the hardest things to figure out when you begin something new – whether it’s a project or a business – is whether it’s going to succeed or fail. Oftentimes, when success comes, it’s easy to look back and see the signs you had not noticed initially. We tend to come to the conclusions we want to make and find the supporting evidence or points where we choose to look.

And when failure hits us, perhaps it is easier to just move on. Who wants to dwell on  the negative?

Anything new…
Anything you have no experience in …
Anything that makes you worried or scared …
is fraught with anxiety.
We are unsure of outcomes, processes and perhaps, even the milestones that may  guide us.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So when a new venture beckons, you’re really striving for a perfect balance as you move ahead.

You don’t want to be over eager and launch before you’ve set your path and laid the foundations for success.
And yet, you also don’t want to think too much and over analyse every move or result in line with the vision you’ve set.

The amount of thinking done needs to be weighed against the amount of action taking place. You’ve got to know when to push it out there – to ship it – and when to hold back for another revision. When what you’re doing is brand new to you and brand new in the space/industry you’re in, then there is no one you can really go to, to get guidance or a helping hand. You’re in this alone and that is typically the case when you’re making your own dreams happen.

Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength –  Napoleon

And you’ve got to be comfortable with that. You’ve got to be internally driven, guided by your expectations and a vision only you truly understand.

It’s scary.
But it’s also helluva exciting.

When pushing through with something new, something different, you’re in it alone but it’s ok.
Others may not get the vision or dream but it’s ok.
You can see the vision but you can’t quite articulate it as well as you’d like to but it’s ok.

Remember that there needs to be as much action as there is thought.
You’re content in the knowledge that you may just need to fumble your way forward.
But it’s ok.

#vision #courage #failure #success

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. 
I run Vertical Distinct, a media and learning organisation supporting both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog here on the entrepreneurial journey. I write for Women of HR and am also Associate Editor at the HR Gazette. Feel free to connect to talk or let me know how I can support you.

Kill fear. Do it anyway.

Blank page.
Many things to say.
None seem worthwhile though.
And so you keep quiet, moving on to the next tab on your browser, something to distract you, something else to do that you will call ‘work’.

The last event attracted 200 people.
This year’s is potentially going to double that number.
The stage had a ‘wow’ factor and yet, it was incredibly daunting.
You got the invite this year, one more time. Again, you hummed and hawed.
Made excuses, told them you would not be able to speak.
And so you just keep walking by these opportunities you call problems or a waste of time.

Do you have an idea you know will work? Yes.
Have you done anything to explore it? No.
Are you actually making excuses? Yes.
Does it keep popping into your head when you find a spare moment or when the busyness of the day begins to settle down? Yes.
And so you keep carrying on, filling your time with lots of stuff to do, while quietly stilling that inner voice that is both bold and scared at the same time.

You have important things to say. But you don’t say them.
You have things that you know you should do. But you don’t do them.
You have ideas you so badly want to explore. But again, you hold back, waiting for the perfect moment to present itself to you. It’s as if you are waiting for something or someone to shout out that it is safe to go try, that this indeed is that moment to jump.

It’s not going to happen.

No one is going to make you do it.
No one is in your head, living your life, thinking your thoughts or dreaming your dreams.
Not everyone is going to understand if you do go explore your path.
Not everyone is going to support your journey.

So, here’s the question?

Will you do it?
Will you do it now?
If not now, then when?
If not at all, why?

#makeithappen

Fear gets to all of us, even those who are successful. But we can’t let it beat us, we need great hacks to beat fear down and get us to a place where we are living the life we want to live. What do you do to beat fear? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I write for Women of HR, post on LinkedIn and am an Associate Editor at the HR Gazette. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.

 

Are you in the driver’s seat of your life?

Don’t rush to a quick answer. You might want to really let this steep for a while. You might also find that, in some areas, you are in the driver’s seat, and in some others, you simply are not. It may or may not be ok with you depending on the severity of the challenge and the importance of the issue.

The thing is this : you are or you can be, in the driver’s seat.

You are in the driver’s seat when you accept the results you see before you, good or bad. When you see the situation for what it is and decide that even if someone else is to be blamed, that you will take the blame. Why? It is because you know that if you choose not to accept responsibility, nothing will change. Any results you get must come from your own effort, it’s simply not enough to play the blame game and in the end, it doesn’t help you in any way.

Two recent articles I’ve read really drive this point home for me and inspired this post.

The first article is by Sudeep Mohandas who wrote ‘Train the Parents‘ on 27 February 2015. In a discussion about the state of the education system and the role parents play in solving the shortcomings thereof, Sudeep calls for parents to step up to their role as educators in the lives of their children.

This resonates with me because I know that no one institution or person can take on board the education or development of a child. This is huge. The risks, challenges, joys, opportunities and sheer magnitude of what is involved –  as a child matures and the number of children within a family  – are truly beyond what can be expected at the institutional level. So much of what it entails requires a kind of specialisation and devotion that is best achieved by someone who cares, who has a vested interest and who is totally committed.

Please don’t get me wrong – this is not meant as an insult to the teaching profession at all. I come from a family of educators and understand the value of education. Teaching is one of the noblest professions around and deserves far more support and attention than it current gets. I only mean that there’s something special here between the parent and the child that provides that extra touch. That can make the difference, or not.

And that is about being in the driver’s seat of your life : not blaming the educational system, criticising what’s lacking or failing but just taking charge and doing what you can, within your circle of influence and just getting on with it.

The second article is by Lily Ma who wrote ‘Solve it or Get Used to It‘ on 2 March 2015. An interesting article about going car-less in modern life, the crux of the article is the idea that if we really evaluate our choices and our predicament, our desire to solve a problem should consider “the weightage of our choices” and not result in outcomes where we pick the path of “get used to it”.

This personally, is an idea, that took some time to make real impact in my life. But now that it has, it has opened up whole vistas for me. To realise that sometimes, the choices are not what seem to be in front of us, that we don’t necessarily need to predict or assume things to arrive at what we believe are our choices, that we should really consider ALL options and look at things with a blank slate – is truly a liberating experience. And so powerful in putting you back in the position, of running your life.

Don’t you think?

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts regularly to Women of HR, HRIS World and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the February 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine now and let me know what you think!

If You Could Focus on One Skill To Develop, What Would It Be and Why?

I know I said one but that was just to hook you in. The truth is I think there’s six. They vary in weight but there’s an interesting dynamic between of all them.

Courage

Some may call it foolhardy but it takes courage to walk down the road you’ve chosen, one you may not articulate to the ones you love. You may find it hard to justify your goals or actions or maybe, you just don’t see the point in doing so. Whatever it is, at some point, you walk your road alone. And the only thing you have going… is the belief that you’re doing the right thing by yourself and that this is what you’re meant to do.

Courage is not always in the bravado acts, the ones we see and identify with. It takes as much courage, if not more, to do the things we need to do, in the shadows, day in and day out.

Persistence

They go hand in hand. You don’t need to persist when you are succeeding, do you? You persist when things go wrong, when you are flailing. And God help you because they don’t teach you this in school. You either learn this because your mama or papa took the time to drill this into you or you built this up yourself, one day at a time. One project, one experiment, one experience at a time.

Mindfulness

If you don’t have the presence of mind to take a step back every now and again to evaluate what is going on, then you run the risk of blindly moving, racing through life till you come to the bitter end and see the mess you’ve created. Because there is no one to blame for the choices you’ve made, except yourself. Whether you’d care to admit or not. On the outside, you could blame a lot of things – your parents, your upbringing, your culture, your financial problems, insert your lack of whatever – the list is endless if you go down this road.

But while we cannot control all the circumstances we find ourselves in, our greatest joy and success comes from our ability to control how we respond, react and deal with the stuff we face. When we boil it all down, every one of us has a story to tell. A story of hope, a story of desperation. Of loneliness, regret, anger, disappointment and loss. Of ambition, passion and hope. Of losing out and breaking through.

Hope

You’ve got to live a live of hope or it simply does not work. If you click out, if you say that your life is mapped out for you, from the choices you’ve made so far, if you let your situation dictate your response, that is not a life of hope.

Hope will take you through your darkest days, it will hold you strong through your weakest moments. And to hold hope strong is to believe that anything is possible.

Curiosity

If you are curious about your world, the relationships you make, the wider goings-on, if you have an interest in how things happen and why, that curiosity will fuel you. It will give you ideas, it will open up new vistas, it will bring more into your life than you imagine.

Embrace failure

This is a big life lesson. I will consider my job as a parent more than half done if I can pass this on successfully to my kids. What you want to get to is the development of a mindset where you are not fazed by failure. The highest point would be almost an embrace of it – a kind of egging on. To get to a place where your ego and self worth are unaffected by the results you get, where you don’t question everything you are about and what you do. A place where you can quietly look past the failure and see what is beyond. Where you can look at your failure, right in the eye, to see how and when and why you failed.

I am slowly warming up to the idea that success may lie in still running the race. For success ends the minute you choose to check out.

You’re still here, there’s still the brightness of another shiny new day. You’ve got your head, your heart. You’ve got a dream.
What more do you need?

When You Lose Your Drive and Patience

It happens. It’s hard to always be on top, to be at the forefront, to keep pushing. Sometimes, you want to slow down but then you realise that every time you slow down, it’s really hard to get back into the groove. And it seems to make more sense to just keep going.

The life of an entrepreneur is one that can only be understood by an entrepreneur. It’s not said as if it were a badge of courage but a truth as much as any other. One only truly understands when in those shoes. But these ideas can resonate with anyone who is trying to achieve something meaningful or something they are truly passionate about, in their lives or careers.

Recently, I read a post by Tom Asacker about how time is relative. Tom says,

…Time speeds up when our experiences are rote.
When we’re standing still.
But it slows down when we experience something new and exciting.
When we’re flying high and engaging with the world.

Interesting because we all talk about how time flies by and it didn’t occur to me that perhaps it was flying by because of the regularity and similarity of what I was experiencing or doing.  And that can be one of the hardest things to acknowledge and accept when you are trying to do something really meaningful.

Because nothing truly good, truly worth your effort and time can be done in a short space of time. And when it gets pretty hard, when you can’t seem to see the wood from the trees, when you keep bumping into setbacks, the easy way out beckons. The call is strong and persistent and in moments such as those, you need to dive deep within. You cannot hope or look for the motivation or purpose from without.

You need question what exactly you are trying to do and ask yourself if these setbacks are really setbacks or a test of your conviction and courage. If it fails, then so be it. At least, you can call it what it is and go find something else to do. But if not…

…then you’ve just reinvigorated yourself.

Don’t you think?

Why We Must Initiate, Invest and Engage

Go read Kristin Kaufman’s latest article – Initiate, Invest and Engage.

It’s spot on about so many things and the title itself is encouraging, proactive and bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. We should initiate, invest and engage and why not? We simply cannot afford to sit around waiting for things to happen for us or to us. We have to go out there and make it.

We have to invest the time, effort and energy in ourselves, our work and what we hold dear. No one else will do that to the degree we do.

And engage? Apathy and indifference is a cop out. It’s easy to do, we can always find reasons against action if we look hard enough but courage, true courage is a beautiful thing – in and of itself.

Best part of this article –

Yet, one thing I believe – if we don’t risk anything, we risk even more – Kristin Kaufman.

Couldn’t agree more. Thanks Kristin.

Do you know what you don’t know?

There’s a problem with not knowing the full facts.

Sometimes, representations or opinions can quite easily be labelled or mistaken for facts. You could jump the gun and think that an occurence could be caused by a given situation when in actual fact, the given situation may simply be a coincidental occurence. And in any case, just because something doesn’t jump out at you, doesn’t mean that it ceases to be what it is. Which is akin to the question – if a tree fell in a forest and there was no one around to hear it, does it mean then that the tree did not fall?

When you don’t know what it is that you are ignorant about, then it is much harder to address that ignorance.

You may be mistaken into believing that you are simply not ignorant. You may be led to believe certain things based on how you’ve assessed the situation, rightly or wrongly.

In life, in meetings, in situations, you are rarely, if ever, in a position where you have access to all the facts. You rarely are in a situation where you can make sense of all the information before you, in a sensible well-thought out manner. Emotion, pandering, persuasion, communication all make their presence felt and affect how well you read the situation. And the sum total of all your experiences, as well as how you’ve dealt with these experiences, how you have interpreted and made sense of them, in your quest to manage your own growth and enlightenment through these experiences, also have a part to play.

So, that said, you need to :

1.Have an opinion.

To develop your critical thinking skills, you need to think through an issue, voice an opinion, learn from it, discover whether it’s right or wrong or simply work your way around it. The point is not so much whether you are then right or wrong but to go through the process. If you are too afraid to put your stake in the sand and essentially, to commit, then you will never know what you want, what you don’t want or even be able to articulate it when you need to.

2. Be open to other views.

At the same time, and odd as it sounds, you need to simultaneously look outward for the opinion of others. You need to benchmark yourself against others. You need to be privy to other perspectives, other experiences and essentially, open your world up. If you are closed off, if you believe yours is the only way, or that you’ve got it all figured out, then you will most probably never find room for improvement. To learn new things or new perspectives, you need to empty your mind out a little and let others wander in. 
 
But I’d suggest coming to your own opinion before you go out exploring the opinion of others.
 
3. Be willing to experiment. To fail. To get it wrong.
There’s an element of courage needed, for sure. And to that, you add curiosity and wonder. Match these with desire, dedication and passion and you have a winning combination.

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