It doesn’t matter whether it is a day training program, a two day conference, a coaching or mentoring experience or an online course, many people find it very challenging to maintain the momentum. You leave the program feeling energised and then….
One expert has made the observation that 15% will leave the experience feeling they gained nothing from it for a range of reasons.
85% will leave feeling it was valuable and will be highly motivated to use what they have learned to improve their professional work. After a month 70% of those will have been sucked back into doing things the way they did them before the training because they have neither the skills or the time to learn how to re-organise their lives to work smarter.
Only 15% will actually translate what they learned into action and implement changes in their professional lives and accelerate their careers in the process.
So What Do Those 15% Do Differently To Maintain The Momentum?
They Stop and Reflect and Make Decisions About What This Training Means For Their Career.
The most important thing they do is take time after the training to review their notes and what they learned. Very few people do this. They return “home” and go into catch-up mode at work and before they know it, the training is past history. Some will take this a step further by conducting a training session for their colleagues which is an excellent way to focus what they learned.
One thing they do in that process is decide what to STOP doing, what to START doing and what to KEEP doing. So after your next training take yourself through this exercise.
Think about all the things you do that you really don’t want to be doing.
Think of all things you say “yes” to that immediately afterwards you realise you shouldn’t have.
Think about all the things that are important to you that you can’t do because you said “yes” to something that is unimportant.
Think of all the things that you waste your time doing – trivial things – that would have no negative effect on your work or your life if you stopped doing them.
Think of all the things you could start doing if you stopped doing all those things above.
What are all those things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time?
What are all those things you now know could make you more productive and efficient?
Hopefully in any training, one of the most helpful parts would be that you developed awareness of the things you do as a professional that make you proud of yourself, enhances your self-esteem, builds your confidence and makes a significant difference in your organisation. These are the things you need to prioritise.
Maintaining the Momentum
Here are 4 actions you can take which will enhance your ability to maintain the momentum after a training program.
Learn To PRIORITISE.
This is about putting first things first. Don’t lurch from one thing to the other unthinkingly because you know something has to be done. Maybe it doesn’t have to be done right now. Maybe it doesn’t have to be done today. Maybe – even – it won’t matter if it isn’t done at all!
Set Some GOALS.
Take seriously what you learned about how you work when you did the exercise – START doing, STOP doing, KEEP doing – and set your goals around that and put it into practice.
Keep Yourself ACCOUNTABLE to Your Goals.
The major reason that people do not achieve their goals and do not follow through on staying motivated to change following training is that they can opt out without anyone knowing. There is no one to check up on them and they can lie to themselves.
Write your goals down. Get yourself an ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. It can be a mutual relationship, keeping each other accountable. Share your goals with that person and give her/him permission to keep you honest and challenge you about your excuses! Regularly meet with that person to mutually support, inspire and motivate one another in staying accountable to what you want to achieve and do. This is like having your own personal coach.
Research has shown that when people write goals down, share them and regularly review them with someone else, they are 75% more likely to achieve them.
Take CARE of Yourself for the Long Ride.
Self-care is not about being selfish. Self-care is about being self-disciplined. Self-discipline, according to Elbert Hubbard is “the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you like it or not.” You are in charge of your time. You need to be assertive in what you do with it. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will not have the energy to take care of the other important people in your life. It is about managing yourself, your stress, your emotions, your health and well-being. In today’s workplace it is especially about the management of your ENERGY so make it a top priority.
Being prepared to develop, enhance and manage your energy, in the four areas Tony Schwartz, from The Energy Project, talks about, will significantly impact your performance for the better. If you can develop positive rituals that you practise every day to manage your energy, both your personal and professional life will be enhanced. You will always be able to do
This is the energy you create when you attend to your nutrition (including hydration), exercise, sleep and relaxation.
• Diet. Eat high energy, unprocessed food. Eat plenty of protein, vegetables, fruit and grains. Regulate your intake of coffee and alcohol.
• Hydration. Water is very important and has not been taken seriously enough in the past. Keep a bottle on your desk at all times. It flushes out toxins and creates immunity from fatigue, lethargy and headaches.
• Sleep. Recent research has shown that 8 hours sleep a night has all kinds of health benefits that we previously didn’t recognise.
• Sharpen the saw. This was the late Stephen Covey’s 7th habit of highly effective people. This is about taking time out to recharge and renew on a daily, weekly and annual basis.
This determines the quality of the energy in your life, whether it is positive or negative. When you are emotionally intelligent you enhance your emotional energy. Without that skill, the pressures and demands of the workplace and its people can very readily deplete and drain your energy and take you into a very negative space emotionally. This impacts on everyone around you.
This relates to your ability to maintain focus and concentration and manage distractions and all those ‘stop doing’ things.
This is about energising the human spirit, about taking time out to become spiritually fit. This has nothing to do with religion. This is about engaging with your inner self, reflecting, contemplating, becoming self-aware and being mindful. This is one of the greatest challenges for people today making a commitment to prioritise on a regular basis time out for reflection and contemplation. Yet those who do it tend to have a high degree of self-awareness and are more conscious of their impact on others and on the world around them whether it be their organisation, their family, their friends, or their community.
One way of doing this (one of many) is practising gratitude. Get a gratitude book and every day write in it 3 things you are grateful for. It helps you set a positive mindset if done at the start of the day and sets the tone for a high energy day. Express gratitude and appreciation to people in your life with, ideally, a hand-written note, an email, or a phone call or taking them out for coffee.
Next time you engage in a training process, before it even starts, make that commitment to prioritising time afterwards to map out what you are going to do to maintain the momentum and then afterwards, follow through.