Tag Archives: learning

7 Ways to Tackle Your Personal & Professional Development in 2022

Feeding Your Mind- Personal & Professional Development
Feeding- Your -Mind- Personal- &- Professional -Development

In my last post, I wrote about how some people use the new year to set new intentions, goals, and resolutions to improve their lives. Personal and professional development are two areas that they typically focus on for self-improvements. But what is the difference between the two? While personal and professional development are inextricably linked, they are not one and the same. According to Indeed, “Personal development is the ongoing act of assessing your life goals and values and building your skills and qualities to reach your potential.” Personal development efforts are usually geared towards changing mindsets, attitudes, and behaviors to improve individual effectiveness and to increase one’s satisfaction with life. On the other hand, professional development refers to any effort taken to improve one’s effectiveness and performance on the job, increase knowledge and skills and to continue learning/education after entry to the workforce.  

While making improvements in any one of these areas can result in significant progress and provide positive benefits to one’s life, not everyone takes them seriously.

Importance of Personal &Professional Development

There is a popular quote by Albert Einstein that states “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” While the quote might sound morbid, it underscores the importance of being a lifelong learner and being intentional about pursuing ongoing growth and development to stay relevant and adaptable. Yet, one of the common mistakes that some people make is, assuming that their growth and development is a destination that they get to. Truth is that life and the world around you is constantly changing, and your development is dynamic. The skills and experiences that got you from one level or stage will not take you to your next level of success. Areas of strength in one season of your life can become weaknesses in another. And the weaknesses that you considered minor at one time, can become major issues or blind spots that can undermine your interpersonal relationships and overall effectiveness. 

Therefore, to maximize your potential and increase your chances for success and fulfillment in your personal and professional life, you will need to be proactively engage in ongoing self-reflection and seek feedback to pinpoint the hard and soft skills you might need change or improve.

Who’s Responsible for Personal Growth &Development

There is a commonly held belief amongst many employees that their professional development is their employer’s responsibility. And rightly so, since employers have an obligation to invest in their talent and workforce by equipping them with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to execute their roles in a way that meet or exceed their organization’s productivity standards. With this expectation, many employees go to work with the expectation that their supervisor and/or organization is responsible for training them and equipping them with the skills they need to be efficient and effective in their roles. While this expectation is valid and fair, the rapidly changing nature of today’s work environment now demands that, employees be proactive about their development and not rely only on mandated trainings or wait for the annual performance review where the supervisor recommends training for a performance issue as a cue for development.

This passive and reactive approach to personal and professional development can prove risky at a time when the technologies you use, the way you work, the skills you need and the demands of the customers you serve are changing quickly. The reality is, your employers might not have the necessary supports in place to help you stay relevant and build your skills. In fact, many people complain about getting promotions on the job and not being adequately trained to perform effectively or not having the time to attend trainings due to the volume of work. Therefore, though employers have a responsibility to develop their people, you must become an advocate for your own personal and professional development and ultimately take ownership for it.

Time to Own Your Development

So how can you take action to become more proactive about owning your personal and professional development?

In an age where you have unprecedented access to information at your fingertips, there is really no excuse for not investing in your personal growth and professional development.  Regardless of your interests, how you like to learn or process information, there are many different options and formats that you can use for lifelong learning and self-improvement. Here are 7 ways that you can tackle your personal and professional development in 2022:  

  1. Do a SWOT Analysis: This process will require you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and to take intentional actions to address them. Ask trusted and objective friends, coworkers, and family members to provide you with feedback that will help you to identify behaviors you need to Stop, Start and Continue.  
  • Invest in Continuing Education:  Depending on where you are in your career, this could involve going back to school to pursue a degree or diploma to gain new knowledge or to help you switch career paths. For others this could mean attending webinars, conferences, enrolling in a course or certification program to develop a new skill or improve an existing one. Remember ongoing learning is a great resume builder.
  • Attend YouTube University: YouTube is probably one of the most underutilized or underrated ways to access learning for free. If you can think of a topic, there is content on YouTube that can help you learn more about it. So, find a topic or skill you are interested in learning about, look for credible people speaking on the topic and get learning.
  • Read, Read, Read: In this social media age where attention spans are short and people are overwhelmed with snippets of information and tweets on their timelines, it is easy to become lazy about how you access and acquire knowledge and information. Rather than relying on your feed, join a book club, read books, articles, and blogs that are related to your industry and interests to ensure that you are staying abreast of current ideas and insights to improve your personal effectiveness.
  • Listen to Podcasts: Podcasts have gained popularity in the last few years. They provide a convenient and flexible way of learning on the go. If you are not a fan of reading, you can listen to podcasts as you exercise, complete chores, do errands or while driving. And like YouTube, you can find a podcast hosted by experts on any topic for free. So, search for podcasts apps on your devices and start listening.
  • Volunteer: Whether it’s at work or in your community, volunteering to serve on project teams or committees can be a great developmental tool and a way to build your network, learn new skills, help others, and pay it forward.  
  • Follow Subject Matter Experts on social media: Apart from showcasing the highlight reel of your life and that of others, social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Meta can also provide you with access to thought leaders who teach and share content/ideas that can inspire you to action or provide resources you can use for your development. Be sure to find these experts and follow them.

In conclusion, pursuing a path towards personal and professional development will require deliberate effort on your part and changes to how you spend your limited free time. Although it might seem overwhelming at first, enlist the support and help of trusted and objective coworkers, friends, and family members to help you figure out areas you need to focus on.  But ultimately, you are in the best position to act on the changes you need to make, chart your career journey, identify your next job opportunity, identify the skills and talents you need to hone to keep growing and achieve satisfaction with your life.

Until next time, “Remember ItsALearningLife! “

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How to Change Your Behaviors & Build Better Habits?

Turtle climbing steps
Turtle climbing steps

In my last article, I talked about how habits work and explained that much of our behaviors are automatic habits that keep us operating on autopilot for significant part of our days and lives. So, what is the big deal? Due to the unconscious nature of these habits, some of us are functioning daily with habits that no longer serve us well. In fact, some of our habits might be undermining the lives we want to create for ourselves and our families and ways we want to grow and develop personally and professionally.

Since all of us have at least one habit that we want to break or build, I challenged you to identify one habit that might be getting in the way of your overall effectiveness. This could be a mindset, a relationship or habits related to food, exercise or how you spend your time and money. Since, our habits can work for and against us, it crucial that we understand them and ensure that they are working in our favor and not to our detriment. Afterall, we cannot fix a habit without being aware of it and truly wanting to change that behavior. But then again, changing behaviors is never easy. Our habits formed to serve a function and usually continue to do so.

Unformed Puzzle vs Formed Puzzle in Human  Mind-Image
Unformed Puzzle vs Formed Puzzle in Human Mind

Small Habits, Big Changes

At the start of the year, I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear which talked about how tiny changes, little choices, small improvements in behaviors can unlock significant success and remarkable results. He argued that “if we could improve by 1% every day for an entire year, we could get 37% better by the end of the year.” Conversely if we got 1 % worse every day for an entire year, we would end up being 37% worse off at the end of the year. Clear explained that if you are willing to build small behaviors and layer 1% improvements on top of them, they will compound and multiply the same way that money multiplies with compound interest over time.

One example of this could include you increasing your water intake daily or replacing one meal with a salad or fruit/vegetable smoothie. Making any one of these choices on daily basis might not immediately result in a drastic dip on the scale or in the pounds automatically melting away. But after a year of this behavior (and if you continued), you are more than likely to experience and see huge gains in your health and overall nutrition than had you made no change at all. The full impact of those actions will compound as getting 1% better every day counts for a lot in the long run.  

From Seed to Plant-Different Stages of  Development -Image
From Seed to Plant- Stages of Development -Image

How to Change Habits?

Whether you or realize it or not, we tend to describe ourselves based on our behaviors and preferences. People who love coffee will say they are coffee drinkers, while other who prefer teas will identify as a tea drinkers. And this applies to how people see and describe us as well. So, when it comes to changing habits, identity plays an important role as well. According to Clear, the most effective way to change your habit is not to focus on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become. Your identify emerges out of your habits since every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become

Clear advises that rather than setting a goal to read 12 books this year, see yourself as reader. Then ask yourself, what do readers do? Answer- readers read (even one page every day.) When you embrace the identity of a reader and read, you are intentionally casting votes for that person you want to become. And the more you do it, you will start to see yourself as that person and build up more evidence to support that identity. Once this behavior becomes your identity, there are no limits on the number of books you will read. Therefore, focusing on identity change can help you become more conscious about your habits and help you to be more intentional about your behaviors so that you can make better choices to grow and improve.

For me, reading Atomic Habits back in January was huge game changer and it helped me restart writing this blog. I had originally started this blog back in 2014 to share my ideas, lessons, experiences and engage with others. For the first year, I consistently published an article weekly, which later dropped off to once a month, then periodically and I stopped altogether in 2016. This was due to a lack of motivation brought on by the stresses of what was happening in my life at the time. Though I had stopped writing my blog, I continued my love of writing by contributing to newsletters at work and occasionally writing on LinkedIn. For the years in between, I developed a habit of spending a huge amount of my down time scrolling through Twitter and consuming long hours of TV with popular streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Apple TV. I was not reading books as much anymore and I was not writing consistently which are hobbies I enjoyed and believed I was good at.

After reading the book, my biggest takeaway was that “Every action you take is a vote for the person you want to be.” When I assessed my habits and tracked how I was spending my time, I realized I was voting for an unproductive TV watcher not the writer I hope be. My behaviors were not consistent with my goal to write and publish a book someday. I knew these behaviors had to change. Consequently, I decided that my writing rut was over, and I would resume writing and publishing articles on my blog again. As I got started, I had doubts about whether I would be able to be consistent and I worried about whether anyone would read. After thinking about it for a while, I resolved that writing was more about me honoring my talent for writing and not burying my talent due to my fears.

One Day, Day One
One Day, Day One

So, I committed to posting an article every Monday and developed a system to support it. I am happy to report  that since February 1, 2021, when I started, I have a casted a vote for the writer I hope to become and now have written and published 16 articles and counting. There is now evidence to support my identity as a writer and my journey continues. I no longer allow the fear that no one will read or doubts about how good the articles are to discourage me. I just vote for myself as a writer every week. Plus, I spend way less time on Twitter and watching TV.

So how about you? Who and what are you voting for? Which new identity do you need to adopt? Clear explains that “In an election, you do not need to have 100% of the votes to win, you just need the majority.” Changing your habits is not about perfection, just progression, so just start. And even if you mess up, avoid the all or nothing mentality and get back on track to keep going.

Four Laws of Behavior Change

So how do we change our behaviors and build better habits? In his book Atomic Habits, Clear recommends four laws for behavior change to build better habits as follows:

  • 1st Law of Behavior is make it obvious: One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called “habit stacking.” The habit stacking formula is: ‘After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]. With that you then set an implementation intention that says, After work, I will go outside for a 15 minutes’ walk in my community.
  • 2nd Law of Behavior Change is make it attractive:  The more attractive an opportunity is, the more likely it is to become habit-forming. Habits are a dopamine-driven feedback loop. When dopamine (feel good hormone) rises, so does our motivation to act. It is the anticipation of a reward – not the fulfillment of it – that gets us to act. The greater the anticipation, the greater the dopamine spike. Temptation bundling is one way to make your habits more attractive. The strategy is to pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do. Example, I will watch Netflix while riding my stationary bike.
  • The 3rd Law of Behavior Change is make it easy:  The most effective way to learn is to practice not plan, so just get started. If you spent all your efforts thinking about the issue, researching, and gathering information but never took any action to execute, you are simply in motion. Instead, focus on performing the behavior . Habits are formed when we repeat the behavior over and over. Remember the amount of time you spend performing the habit is not as important as the number of times you have performed it.
  • The 4th Law of Behavior is make it satisfying: “We are more likely to repeat a behavior when the experience is satisfying.” So the “The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change states that “What is immediately rewarded is repeated and what is immediately punished is avoided. “If you want to get a habit to stick, you need to feel immediately successful—even if it’s in a small way. So come up with a way to reward yourself for performing the behavior.

Afterall all is said and done, there is no magic bullet for behavior change. Any kind of meaningful change takes time, intentionality, commitment, and consistency. Some days will be harder than others and what works for me might be different for you. So just get started.

Until next time, Remember, It’sALearningLife.

P.S. If you want to learn more about behavior change, breaking bad habits and building better ones, check out James Clear’s website for more insights.

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Habit Check : What Your Habits Say About You!

Habit Check
Change Habits

All bad habits start slowly and gradually and before you know you have the habit, the habit has you.”

Zig Ziglar

Have you ever driven home or to work with no memory of how you got there, or completed a chore or task without any recollection of what you did?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Much of what we do from the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep is based on habits we perform on autopilot. In fact, research tell us that “approximately 43% of our daily behaviors are performed out of habit.” So, where you park your car, whether you park facing in or out, what you reach for first when you wake up and what you do next, your entire morning routine is made up of small or big habits.

How Habits Work?

A  habit  is defined as “A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Our habits usually emerge from decisions we made long ago, stopped thinking about but kept on doing thereafter. But when you think about it, it should be quite unsettling that we live so much of our lives largely unaware of our unconscious behaviors. Nevertheless, our habits become so much a part of us that people come to know us by them and form expectations of us from them as well. While some of our habits and routines are beneficial and help us to be more efficient and effective, not all of them are. Bad habits can undermine our overall personal effectiveness and negatively impact our relationships, finances, health, productivity as well as our physical and mental well-being.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle
Habit Formation Process-Image
The Habit Formation Process

The Habit Formation Process

Habits help us get through our daily lives by removing the need for us to make tiny little decisions on everything and free us up to focus on things that are new and different. In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explained that once a behavior becomes a habit, the decision-making part of our brains go into a sleep mode of sorts and the brain starts working less and less and can almost completely shut down. The real advantage of this is that we can do complex activities such as parallel parking a car without having to think about it while devoting our mental activity to something else.”

So how do habits form? Duhigg explained that every habit functions the same way and has three parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward.  Together, these three parts create a habit loop which is innate in all of us and is like a tape that plays repeatedly.

  1. The Cue – This is the trigger that prompts our behavior and makes our brain go in autopilot mode. The cue can be an emotion, a time of day, something in the environment, other people or a pattern of behavior that consistently trigger a certain routine.
  2. The Routine – This is the behavior itself; the action you take in response to the cue.
  3. The Reward – This is the why you do it or the benefit you gain from doing the behavior. This is perhaps the most important part of the habit loop and is the reason the habits exist.

Every time we perform the behavior and experience the reward, our brain releases dopamine (feel good hormone) or a sense of relief that communicates to our brains that the activity is meaningful and whether to remember it or not. And so, a habit is formed. Some habits have immediate rewards, while others have hidden rewards. As you might appreciate, habits with immediate rewards are easier to pick up, whereas those with delayed rewards are more difficult to commit to and maintain. This explains why people find it easier to pick up their phone and scroll through Facebook and Instagram or, sit on the couch and watch TV rather than exercising or going to the gym.

Habit Word cloud-Image
Habit Word Cloud

Your Habits and You

One example of how the habit loop works for me is with my nightly routine of cleaning the kitchen before I go upstairs to prepare for bed. My cue for cleaning the kitchen comes around 10:00 p.m. when I started feeling tired am prompted to go upstairs for bed. My routine is to wash the dishes, wipe the stove, clean the counter, and ensure that there is nothing left in the sink. The reward I get is the pleasure of seeing a clean and clear kitchen because I really dislike going to bed with a dirty kitchen. So, every night when I turn the lights out and head upstairs to prepare for bed, I feel satisfied knowing that when I go downstairs in the morning, a clean kitchen will greet me as I start my day.

Some of my other habits include saying grace before meals, craving a cup of warm team with cinnamon and vanilla every night as I relax, to even checking the doors before I go to sleep. I perform these tasks automatically without making any decision to. So, what are the cues, routines, and rewards in your life? What is your cue for exercising, picking up your cellphone several times a day to check for messages or notifications or scroll mindlessly? Is it an emotion? For those of you who enjoy a drink after work or at the end of the day- what is your prompt? And for the bingers who enjoy watching movies– is it moving to the couch, picking up the remote that leads to a 3–6-hours binge of Netflix series or movies?

It is also important to note that our habits can be dangerous. For some people, poor habits can show up as addiction to smoking, alcohol, junk or comfort foods, social media or as procrastination, poor relationship decisions, lifestyle diseases and huge amounts of credit card debt due to online shopping. When we stop thinking about our decisions and take all of actions based on habit, we run the risk of operating on fixed mindsets (see last post), bias and stereotypes. When and where we do so, our decisions can impact other people negatively and sabotage the best outcomes for ourselves. Additionally, our habits can cause us to be absent-minded in our interactions with others and not be present in the moment, thereby preventing us from engaging with our loved ones in meaningful ways. 

Final Thoughts on Habits

So, are we stuck with our habits?  No, not all. Habits can be hard to change but not impossible. The first and most crucial step in fixing or changing our habits is to become aware of them.  So, what is one habit that you really want to change? How does that habit serve you or not serve you? What new habit do you want to build? Stay tuned for next week post ‘Building Better Habits – The Fours Laws of Behavior (Part 2.) Until next time, Remember It’s A Learning Life!

If you want to change your life, change your habits.

Unknown

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Level UP!!

Balloons Up In the Sky-Photo
Balloons up in the Sky-Photo by Padli Pradana on Pexels.com

Catchy phrases and  cool slangs have always been attractive to people trying to ensure that they are “in the know” and/or keeping up the times. And so, in professional circles you might have heard your colleagues drop phrases such as “Lean In” (made popular by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook titled book), “circle back”, “weigh in” and/or refer to “serial tasking” (Instead of multitasking) and so on and so forth.

“Level Up” or “levelling up” is the one of the newest and trendy phrases now being used in various circles across the globe to describe an attitude or mindset towards upgrading oneself or performance and/or the desire to go to another level in one’s personal or professional development or career journey. The Urban Dictionary describes level up as “To make a move in your life or career for the better”. Based on that definition,  who among us could not think of an area(s) in our lives that we want or need to level up or improve ?

Why Level Up?

According to Business Wire, there is a  $9.9 billion market for motivational self-improvement programs and products that seek to improve us physically, mentally, financially or spiritually. A quick at YouTube quick look at Amazon’s platform or YouTube respectively,  will reveal a  plethora of self-improvement books, podcasts on everything from how to improve finances, learn a new skill, motivational content on personal development and how to videos geared at people who want to try something new. So, regardless  of where you fall on Maslow’s  Hierachy of Needs , the concept of “levelling up” appeals to individuals who are  looking to  their improve skills or performance, advance in their career  or  wanting to step outside of  their comfort zone. It also provides motivation for those of us seeking to pursue bold new goals whether its buying a new home, starting that degree, taking a relationship to the next level or taking steps to improve nutrition and fitness for improved health and well-being. Additionally, the organizational environments in which we operate and the tools and technologies we use are always changing. Failure to adapt and our agility in responding to such change can affect our success and progress in the varied roles we perform.

What Does Levelling Up Look Like?

This truly will depend on your end game and what you are trying to achieve at this stage of your personal life or career. One of the things  that I learned very early in my leader development is that, development is dynamic. Our strengths can become weaknesses and gaps in skills that we have (that were not critical at one time) can suddenly become urgent. Simply put, the skills and talents that got us to one level, may not take you to your next or ‘What Got You Here Won’t Take You There’ . Plus, we all have blind spots, those things that people know about us that we don’t know about ourselves.  For example, the way we  make decisions, how we ‘show up” when working with others or perform everyday tasks,  that can potentially undermine or derail our very best efforts.

For me, I have identified a couple areas in my interpersonal and technical skills where I am seeking to grow and level up. For you, the area(s) for improvement will be different. What matters most is that you take the time to process feedback you might have received, and or spend some time reflecting on where you are vs. what you want to achieve. Once you’ve  identified  your  opportunities to growth, challenge yourself not to focus  on the barriers but instead, commit to  taking little steps as you work towards change.

So, ask yourself- what is one area (s) in my personal /professional life that I would like to or need to grow/improve? Whatever you answer might be- that is the place to start becoming the person you truly want to be.

Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!  

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Coming to America..4 Years Later

animal-1524168_1920 Four years ago (Today), I migrated to the USA to embark on a brand new chapter of my life. Excited about my visions of success, the lure of new opportunities and the well wishes of friends and family, I flew out bravely. But, like any big life event or major change, the journey has been filled with challenges and opportunities that I had to navigate to transition successfully. I quickly learnt that, even the best laid plans go awry and that research never fully prepares you for what is to come. Now, three jobs later, after many second interviews, even more informational interviews, some serious networking efforts, CPLP certification, volunteering, starting a Blog, the ground has finally settled under me and I am moving forward steadily. So, as I reflect on my own experience and progress to date, here a few insights that might help you.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan:  If you fail to plan, prepare to fail.  Having a clear vision or set goals about what you want to and achieve will help to you stay focused regardless of what is happening around you. Share your goals often and openly, as this will help the people you meet figure out how they might best help you.
  2. Accept that setbacks and detours are normal: If you are super lucky, you might land a job in your field of choice before you even make the move.  If you didn’t, your job hunt will likely start shortly thereafter and your first job might not be what you envisioned. It might be a job that gets you employed and earning, but, it may not be a good fit for your skills and background. That just means you have to keep looking
  3. Be positive and persistent: Chances are, you are going to have some disappointments particularly with the job search process. Acknowledge them, but do not dwell on them. Your failure to get that job you wanted is not necessarily an indictment on your own value, skills and experiences. Instead, treat every interview as a learning experience, assess your performance after and use it to prepare for your next opportunity.
  4. Ask for and find help: Your success is really up to you. Start by identifying the organizations you would like to work with and try to make connections with people who are doing the kinds of work that you would like to do. Professional networks such as Linked In and/or your local professional organizations are great for establishing new relationships.
  5.  Practice a growth mindset:  Your ability and willingness to quickly learn, unlearn and relearn and will be important as you acquire the new skills required to be successful and adapt to the new culture or your environment. Be open to feedback and trying new ways of doing things.
  6. Believe in yourself and value your experiences: Though you might be in a new setting, all your experiences are valid. Your challenge is to find new ways of thinking about your skills and prior experiences and how to leverage them. Being able to determine your transferable skills, articulate and demonstrate them, will help you to reinvent yourself and position you for success.
  7. Surround yourself with good people: Like any good fighter knows, the roar of the crowd might be nice to hear but it doesn’t win the fight. When life knocks you down, all you really need are a few good supporters in your corner helping you get up to resume the fight and cheering you on.

Until next time, Remember, It’s a Learning Life!

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Rated R: That Resillence Factor

If you’re going through hell, keep going!” Winston Churchill

I’ve often heard that quote and found some humor in it (As you might as well). As I wrote this post, I couldn’t think of a better reference for framing what resilience truly means. This quote from Winston Churchill, named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, and widely regarded as being among the most influential people in British history, provides timeless wisdom that help us understand the concept of resilience. Simply put, resilience (resiliency) refers to one’s ability to bounce back from the adversities (Illness, failures, trauma, disasters, tragedy or loss) experienced in either or personal, or professional lives. Resilience speaks to courage, determination, hope, that will to win or succeed, no matter how tough the race gets, how great the obstacles are, or how difficult the fight.  That resilience factor,  determines not only  how well we adapt and  cope with change, and the challenges life throws at us, but also whether we merely survive or thrive, and even influences how we see ourselves as victors or victims.

“Whether you think you can, or  you think cant- you’re  right.” Henry Ford

Is resiliency a skill, a trait, a talent that comes more naturally to some than other? Probably, but this might not matter in the long run. For me, resiliency is more of a personal quality, a mindset that influences the behaviors some people show in times of great difficulty. And while it may seem that, some people are more disposed or more proficient at it, this might be a result of their different life chances and experiences. We all know someone in our circle(s) of influence (client, friend, family member, and coworker) who has faced adversity. And at one extreme, there are those who seem unable to recover from the situation or event, or move forward. Their stories are filled with despair and hopelessness. On the other end of the spectrum, there are others, who despite the pain, hardships and  setbacks, push pass their circumstances and display that inner courage, determination and a will to succeed despite the odds. How then do we account for these different responses in people? Truth is, we are all wired differently, but that resilience factor can certainly determine an individual chances for success or failure and even their  performance on the job.

“Almost Every Successful Person Begins With Two Beliefs, The Future Can Be Better Than The Present And I Have The Power To Make It So.” Author Unknown

 In today’s unpredictable and rapidly changing environment where organizations exist, resilience has become a highly desired trait for both leaders and employees alike. Organizations are investing significant research, time and money into talent management and leadership development programs to build resilience in their teams and to help employees understand the importance of resiliency. In so doing, resilience is being touted as a “new skill” valued in employees, much like customer service in its heyday. After all, resilient employees make resilient companies.

7 Tips to Become More Resilient

So whether you were born or not born with resiliency as a special skill or trait, you can certainly, develop or hone it. You can deliberately choose to demonstrate resiliency in our responses to setbacks, change and adversity at work or in our personal lives. As you choose, here are a few tips that might help you develop your resiliency:

  • Practice self-awareness by understanding who you are (Strengths, gaps, and talents), and by defining what is important to you (Values).
  • Establish a vision for yourself by determining what your goals are and how you would like your life to be. Once you’ve done this, be resourceful by finding ways and opportunities (Using long and short terms plans) to leverage your skills and talents to achieve your goals.
  • Learn from your failures and mistakes and don’t get derailed by focusing on them. Truth is, you will not be the first or last to suffer setbacks and detours. Acknowledge your current situation and your role in it, and then move forward.
  • Embrace a positive mindset and perspective that will help you make sense of all your experiences and help you overcome your challenges. There is a lesson in every experience and these provide great opportunities for learning.
  • Believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities (even when no one else does) and keep striving towards your goals even when things do not work out as you planned. There will always be people who do not support your goals, surround yourself with the ones who do.
  • Develop positive relationships at work and healthy friendships. Not only will these relationships help you to cope with stress, they will give you key support when times are difficult and also people to share and celebrate your successes.
  • Practice a balanced lifestyle that embraces your spiritual, physical, and emotional self. Remember to pray, rest when you need to and have fun on your journey.

Therefore,  the next time  you find yourself in a difficult situation– Choose to Be Resilient! For as the  great  Jamaican reggae singer and legend  Bob Marley once said, “You Never Know How Strong You Are, Until Being Strong Is The Only Choice You Have.”

Until next time-  Remember, ItsALearningLife!

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Perspective is a Helluva Thing!!

elephant

Much of what we think, how we think, what we see, how we feel, and how we act is determined by our personal biases, and limited experiences. However “valid” or “right, “we believe these perspectives to be – they might not always be so. By failing to consider this, we often miss opportunities for meaningful learning , or risk missing the bigger picture. The Blind Men and The Elephant  poem below, reminds us that, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. For though our individual  perspectives might  differ, what matters more is, how we engage to collectively share our opinions, and respectfully consider the viewpoints of others through dialogue and teamwork. So, let’s challenge ourselves to not be blinded by our particular experiences, or mindsets of what we know to be “true” or “right”. Instead, let us continually look beyond the part(s) in front of us, and seek to discover the whole picture, and everything that is involved.

poem

The journey continues…

Tameca N. Brown

Copyright ©2015 http://www.itsalearninglife.com

Image Source : The blind men and the elephant. Poem by John Godfrey Saxe (Cartoon originally copyrighted by the authors; G. Renee Guzlas, artist).

Just Do It……..Do It Now!

imagesX97HBCNRThe new year is here and January is running fast. You’ve made some New Year resolutions  which are either fading into the deeper recesses of your mind or are in full gear. Whichever the case, I’m with you for I have been there  and done that.

Writing a blog has been on my  ” To  Do List ”  since 2011 when I first came across the concept, along with developing an online portfolio, shedding 10 pounds and the list goes on.But for whatever reason, life happens, I’ve never started and none of my friends have kept me accountable though I’ve said  I would. To be fair though, they have repeatedly told me  that they are patiently waiting for my memoirs/autobiography for believe me , I like you and so many others have  STORIES  to tell.

Anyways, back to the point, I’ve finally published my blog- It’s A Learning Life -Lessons in the Journey Towards Personal & Professional Development http://itsalearninglife.wordpress.com.  And trust me, you’d never believe the amount of time and effort it took  to get started . Hats off to the  established Bloggers out there, I  now have a greater appreciation for what you do and the courage it takes to just put yourself out there.

But I’ve resolved, my blog’s debut isn’t perfect, it doesn’t have to be . In fact, the content, style and format of my blog may change and evolve as I do- and I’m ok with that. It simply reflects my first step, my best effort at this time, and my commitment to meet one of my personal and professional goals for 2014. So  if you like me  have  been putting off a goal or project for some area(s) of your life – personal, career, education, financial, health , spiritual etc., my advice to you  would be to – just  do it. Start, neither  you   nor your efforts  have to be perfect,  your focus may shift a bit, you may slip up but stay the course and do it.

collagenew yer

Wherever you are in your  journey, whatever the situation, the  level you’re at, go ahead  and find your list of “things to do for 2014” and start. If you don’t have one, it’s not too late  to go make one,  you’re even entitled to dream, but right after you read, comment, like and share.

What are your goals for 2014? Please share, I’d like to hear from you.

TNB

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