Today, July 31, is my brother Colin’s birthday, but he is not here to celebrate. He died in 2012. Ever since he died I have gone dry in July to raise money for cancer research and the Andrew Love Cancer Centre here in Geelong. My fund-raising page is still open until August 15 so if you haven’t already made a donation to cancer research this year, please consider supporting my cause at https://www.mycause.com.au/page/207577/maree-harris-in-memory-of-colin-rickard
In the new year after Colin’s death, in February 2013, I wrote the following blog post for my Colleagues and clients. I am sharing it with you all here because I learned so much from sharing his journey with him and you might learn something also from reading my reflections.Read More
It’s only two small words but they make a world of difference. In fact, they can change people’s lives and change the world in which we live. However more often than not we haven’t time to say them. Of course, I’m talking about those two words – “Thank You”.
We live our lives on a frantic freeway, always racing, never time to stop. It’s a 7 day working week nowadays.
With all this rush and tear of modern life, we do not have time anymore for some of the most important things in life – valuing and appreciating one another, showing gratitude, acknowledging the goodness of people, giving one another the positive feedback that makes us feel valuable, important and worthwhile – and saying “thank you”.
We are living in an age where depression is rife. Every year in Australia 800,000 adults experience a depressive illness. Even young children are now being diagnosed with depression. The World Health Organisation has predicted that by 2020 depression will be the second biggest health problem world-wide behind heart disease. So what’s the answer? How would things change if we began to focus on the positive in our lives?
What might happen if we developed an attitude of gratitude?
What if we focused on everything in our lives that we can be thankful for?
Brian Tracy says:
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”Read More
How did we ever manage without email? It’s difficult to imagine and for those of us old enough, hard to remember what we used to do.
Yet for all its benefits, it also has its negatives, the biggest being the way it depersonalises relationships.
We email people in the next office, rather than go and talk with them.
We email our frustrations and other emotional reactions rather than go and talk them through.
We attempt to resolve complex work situations via email, rather than trying to work them out face to face, or at least by phone.
We have forgotten that doing business and running sustainable and successful organisations is about relationships. It’s relationships between people that make or break a project or deal.
Email is one of the most ineffective ways of building connection and engagement, of building sustaining relationships.
The great debate at this time of the year is about whether goal setting has a value or not. If you’ve been there before only to find that, in spite of your best efforts, life and “important” work gets in the way after a month or so, then you are probably not going to set any goals this year.
Let’s stop and think about this a bit.
Whatever success means to you, it is worth pursuing the actions that will see you achieve it. You feel empowered, in charge of your life when you do. You see yourself as a “Can Do” person. Having achieved one goal, you gain in confidence about achieving another. And the next one is much easier again. Your head is in the right place. You have more energy. You have fewer limiting beliefs about yourself. You are much more confident.
The most successful people, in whatever field they work, all set goals. They then bring focus to achieving them.
Goal setting is about focusing on your WHY. If you have a big enough WHY, the HOW is easy.
So the first step in goal setting is knowing why you want to achieve that goal. Sometimes you have to dig deep to get clear about that.
So let’s turn this goal setting problem upside down.
Some recent research by Accountemps, a Robert Half Global Company, specialising in providing business with skilled finance and accounting professionals, found that sending thank you notes to a HR manager or recruitment professional who did the interview can tip the scale in a job candidates favour.
At a time when hundreds of people are applying for the same job, writing a thank you note is a way to stand out from the crowd. It demonstrates self-awareness, that you are aware of and acknowledge the time that the recruiter or HR manager has given to interviewing you and spending time with you, that you consider others not just yourself. It also shows your attention to detail, your ability to follow through to the end of a process.
Only 24% of applicants send one, however. This is down from 51% in 2007.
Is there a very attractively framed Vision, Mission and Values Statement on the wall in the foyer of your organisation? Does it tell everyone who enters through the door what your organisation is about, what its “Why” is. Are they just words on a wall, or are they lived out every day in your organisation? In other words, are the words on the wall walked in the halls of your organisation?
While this article is written for organisations and those who lead them, it is equally relevant to you even if you are not in a leadership role. Every one of us who wants to make a difference in our work and life and be successful in the process needs a personal vision, mission and values statement.
Every decision in your organisation needs to be lined up against your vision, mission and values to see if it fits before it is finally agreed on. An organisation loses credibility in the eyes of employees first, then other stakeholders and then the community, when it consistently compromises on its espoused vision, mission and values, when the words on the wall are not walked in the hall.
This quote from anthropologist, Margaret Mead has inspired me in many areas and times of my life. In the things I do, the situations I face, now and in the past, it keeps coming back to me, a kind of inspiration that I find so empowering, that idea that “You can change the world. You can really make a difference”.
It’s come back to inspire me again this past week-end as I have begun to watch the Netflix documentary, The Keepers, on sexual abuse in a Catholic girl’s school in Baltimore, USA, in the late 1960s. It was its excellent reviews that drew me to it. As a Catholic myself and having actually worked with the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in my counselling and psychotherapy practice, I thought there was nothing I didn’t know about this enormous blight on this religious institution. I’ve only watched two of the seven episodes, but it has made me aware, yet again, in a way I didn’t understand in my school days, of the enormous, unbridled power of the Church and the Catholic male clergy in those days.
How much significance do you give to the recruitment and training of your receptionist? Of course, you pay great attention to the appointment of your professional service staff. Their importance to the organisation is obvious because they are providing the service to your clients and customers that will determine whether you gain their business and more importantly maintain it. However your receptionist is the face of your organisation, your director of first impressions. That person is the first person your clients and customers speak to or meet when they make contact with your organisation. The way she or he speaks and acts, dresses, is groomed, will either enhance their impressions of your organisation or have them not wanting to come back and looking for an alternative.Read More
Make it a priority to focus on strengths with all the people you interact with.
Acknowledge their strengths. Draw their attention to them.
Challenge them to use their strengths to achieve their goals, to be successful.
Follow them up next week, and next month. Continue to encourage and support them.
It’s their strengths that help them to manage, overcome or counterbalance their weaknesses, what challenges them.
If the focus is always on their inadequacies, what is wrong with them, what they need to change and improve, many give up. They do not know how to do it. They do not recognise they have the resources within – strengths – to do it. So focus on strengths, not weaknesses.
Be the catalyst to help them recognise their untapped talents and potential.
Be the person to change their life.