Empowered adults

This was an article I sent out as part of my Self-Care newsletters early in this pandemic. Given we are about to go into very demanding restrictions and lockdowns here in Victoria, Australia, I thought it was worth re-visiting it. What kind of people do we want to BE in these next six weeks? And what skills, strategies and inner resources are we going to need to BE that kind of person? We need to believe that we can be empowered adults and take back the control that COVID-19 has taken from us. In a very real sense only we can do it. 

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Create the Future

Who would try and predict the future at the moment? So why try? Why not do what the late management expert Peter Drucker said many years ago and create the future we want and desire?

Is that a fantasy dream, a pie in the sky hope? It doesn’t have to be.

From day to day our reality changes. Yet we so often think that if we can’t predict our future with some degree of certainty we are in big trouble. We are now living in a very different world and uncertainty and change are its middle names. Any future we might have lies in being able to live with those two realities, in fact embrace them and make them work FOR us not AGAINST us.

It’s all about the mindset we bring to our lives and work, whether we have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

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Control the impact of COVID-19

Controlling what we can control, and letting go of what we can’t, can make us feel we are making a difference. What we can control is what is happening in our own lives, making the practical decisions that reduce our stress and empower us.

I’ve created a checklist of decisions we all need to make and/or consider, especially if we are experiencing great stress, worry and anxiety at this present time.  They are decisions around our finances, our work, our health and well-being, our housing, our overall life-style and around our businesses if we have one.

Some of these decisions may well be difficult because they are usually the areas of our lives which we don’t want to change. They are where we are most settled and comfortable.
These are considerations that were not even on our agenda before this pandemic hit. In other words they weren’t on our agenda even 6 months ago.

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Take Back Control

How our lives have been turned upside down in a very short period of time! In fact, as I write this today, we can expect that tomorrow more change will envelop us that we can’t even foreshadow right now. As for next week and the week after that…….. that is so unforeseeable.

As I have already said in an earlier article, we have lost control of most of the parts of our life that gave us a sense of security and stability. We have to take back control over what we can control. That is not just our physical reality but also our emotional lives.

Tony Schwartz and Emily Pines, in an article titled “Coping with Fatigue, Fear and Panic During a Crisis”, called on us to move out of our Overwhelmed and Survival Self and into our Adult Self as the way to take back control in this challenging time.

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Hands tied and disempowered

“Setting up systems”, you say. “How would that empower my productivity?” It can. Let me tell you more. How much time do we waste every day at work telling people the same thing time after time? The next day we do it all over again. We explain procedures to our clients over the phone twenty times a week. We explain to at least 2-3 of our colleagues every week how to do something that is integral to our business.

Why haven’t we got a system that does that to which we can refer our colleagues and clients? We could have a flyer or brochure on it – online and hard copy – to which we could refer them. We could have a video on the intranet to which we could direct our colleagues when they don’t understand that issue or situation. Sure it takes time to set up systems, but it also takes enormous time – if we add it up over a day, a week or a year – to explain the same things over and over.

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Valuable Old Watch

Do you feel valued in your workplace? If not, why do you stay there? Why wouldn’t you move to where your expertise is valued?

In my work, especially as a mentor, I constantly talk with people who don’t feel valued at work. What keeps them there, however, is a doubt about their own ability. Part of them believes they are making a valuable contribution, but because no one actually acknowledges it, they then feel that maybe they are not as valuable as they think. They rely on the people around them to validate them. Because that doesn’t happen, they then fear to go elsewhere, feeling they have nothing to offer.
That’s one of the great things about mentoring. It validates you even while it challenges. If it is one-on-one mentoring, the mentor does that, but if it is group mentoring, a whole group of like-minded, equally motivated people share their experience with you and you find it validating yours.

So if you want to discover your real value, ask the right people. A mentor is one of those people.

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The time will never be right

How often have you waited for the time to be right and in retrospect missed out on a great opportunity?

How many years have you actually been waiting for the time to be right to do what you really want to do, knowing it will change your life? But the time will never be right. There are no guarantees either that any decision you make will be right, that any action you take will be successful. What you can guarantee is your own absolute commitment to it. I can do this. I will do this. I can make this happen no matter what gets in the way. Now is the right time. I will make this the right time.
Empower yourself for success. Take action now!

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Take Back Control

We are all like sticks of dynamite. The power is on inside us, but nothing happens until the fuse gets lit.

That really inspired me when I first read it. It is just so true. I really believe that every single person has something special and unique inside them. The reason why some are able to develop that and show it to the world is because they light the fuse. That’s what it means to empower ourselves. No one else can empower us. We have to do it ourselves. Others can encourage, support, motivate and inspire us, but only we can take that final step and light the fuse. When we do that, we take off. All those talents and all that potential we have inside us is activated and released.

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Hand-written note

It is so easy, but hardly anyone does it. In these days of digital communication, it’s considered old-fashioned. Most of the people who still do it are over 50. Have all of my readers under that age already decided this article is not for you and moved on to the next email?
But if you do want to make an impact, if you want to be remembered, if you want to engage your people and lift morale in your organisation, then becoming aware of the power of the hand-written note becomes an important skill to embrace.
It is because so few people write hand-written notes today that they have such impact.
Writing a hand-written note is not an obligation; it is an opportunity. It is a differentiator.

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Enpowered leaders

Every leader wants a team of high performing professionals in their organisation. How you achieve that is the big question. I’ve written previously about what I consider are the three big motivators – Engage, Empower and Elevate that will see you achieving that.
There are also many other skills that can enhance your leadership. I have selected six that when developed and enhanced are the ones that I believe will bring the most significant outcomes. Those of you who know my work will know that my focus is on the soft skills needed for leadership.

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