Do you notice how often we say things like...
Sometimes we can go over and over the negative thoughts, thinking that that will bring abut the positive solution. But his is a total waste of time...what you need to so it change your thinking to the positive.
So this week put your attention on what you DO want...focus on it with as much as your thought energy as possible and see what a difference it can start to make in your life.
Do you realise how much time you spend in any moment thinking about the past, (maybe what we should or shouldn't have done) or in the future (worrying or thinking about what may happen)...and how little we spend in the present moment.
We can eat our lunch on the go...giving the food we eat hardly any thought at all. Never really fully experiencing the fullness of the flavour.
We rush from person to person, our heads full of what we need to do next, that we never fully engage with them. Which is a shame, because it has been said that the deepest need of most people is simply to be heard.
So how do we better engage with others? Or get to really taste and enjoy the food we are eating? Or really enjoy life...
The answer is to become more aware of living in the present moment. We do, after all, only have a small window of opportunity to create our lives...and that moment is now. We cannot change the past, and we have limited ability to influence the future. The only time we can have any influence over is now...
Most of us have a life that looks great on paper. To the outside world we are successful and prosperous because we tick all the boxes. There is, however, a fundamental difference between success and happiness. Just because we may look successful, doesn't mean we are happy...
Brene Brown said in her TED talk about the Power of Vulnerability, that, "We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability." and it is as a result of that numbing of emotion that, "we are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in US history"
And this isn't just the case in the United States...but in many other countries around the world.
In order to find kindness and compassion for others, we need to find it within ourselves by treating ourselves kindly. And yet our inner chatter is often harsher than we would talk to anyone else.
To strengthen your inner resilience to dealing with the vulnerable and ever changing world in which you live, it is a good idea to look at your own levels of happiness in each area of your life.
It's interesting how our brains think in patterns.
What happens is that when we stumble around trying to make sense of a problem or situation, our brain searches its data-banks of experiences to try to find a recognisable pattern it can latch onto. When it does, it will flow your thinking along it towards an outcome or conclusion.
But that can result in a problem...
When we are upon the tidal wave of thought along recognised patterns we bi-pass untested, new and interesting opportunities along the way. We don't see them because our brains haven't wanted us to take the stepping stones across the water towards them. So our resolutions to problems can become predicted and safe.
Now the solution you reach following a predicted thought pattern may be a great resolution to the situation...and yet it might not.
When I look back I recognise that years ago I allowed my thinking to follow predicted patterns...which led me to feelings of being stuck and not moving forward. If I knew then what I know now, I would have looked for tools and techniques to open up my thinking and allow it be more flexible and receptive to new ideas.
But we are where we are...and I'm wanting to share all the research and experience I have generated over the years around creative thinking/storytelling and lateral thinking, so that you can apply these techniques to your life and work to help you to keep moving forward and exploring ideas and opportunities without allowing them to pass you by.
When contemplating or making change in your life or business, don't let the past patterns of thinking and working hold you back from being open and receptive to new ways of doing, being and having. Remain curious about the way things work. Learn new tools and techniques for generating ideas and looking at situations in different ways.
Above all, don't be afraid to explore.
image by Tacluda
Getting yourself in the right place to start thinking creatively is easier for some than others.
There are many businesses that are crying out for someone who can put forth ideas and innovations, but then they sandwich a meeting or workshop to capture these ideas in-between logical meetings like sales forecasts and sales reviews. Hardly a great space for creative thinking! It is as though creative thinking can somehow happen as part of a business process.
The same goes in our personal creativity. We sometimes need a ritual to get us in the right head space. Just like a painter sets up for work mounting a canvas on an easel, preparing the brushes and choosing the paints, you want to set up your creative stage for best results.
Some people wait until the muse is upon them before they can start to come up with creative solutions. This is fine if it suits. But what if you need to find a creative solution here and now? What if the situation won't wait for the muse to find you?
What you need is the mind-set of being in the moment. The more you search for being in the moment, the quicker you will be able to get yourself in that place when you need to. You'll also find your ability to concentrate increases as will your ability to filter out extraneous sounds and other distractions.
image by AndrewBernard
Building personal resilience, or allowing your team members to grow their own resilience has never been more important.
Change is around us more than ever. We have come to understand and realise that organisations need to be flexible in order to survive and that flexibility often comes in the form of a restructure.
You know the thing...I'm sure we've all been through it more times than we care to mention. We've worked in a job and produced good results. That is backed up with a positive annual appraisal. Your sickness level is good. If you undertake peer feedback reviews, those are great. But when it comes down to a restructure, and the need to fight for the job you've been performing well in for a number of years, it often comes down to how you perform at interview.
On a personal level, the ability to be resilient is crucial. This resilience comes from being flexible, the ability to think creatively and confidence in your ability.
As a business owner or manager it is crucial that you ensure your team members build their resilience, confidence and creative thinking. Unfortunately I have seen too many businesses immerse themselves in the practical side of a restructure, and forget the well-being of their employees. For those that remain in the company their confidence can be shattered and they feel the need to conform rather than innovate.
Your business and your success all depends on the creative ability of your staff to innovate...
One of the key areas of creative thinking is problem solving.
My blog this week was going to be a video on another topic...but I had a problem with it. Actually I wasn't very happy with it. I didn't think I had quite got my message across as well as I'd hoped.
Putting the video to one side, I got to thinking that we all encounter problems sometimes and when we do what we need is a creative solution to hand.
There are many different techniques to use but here is one which James Webb Young published in his book A Technique to Producing Ideas. In it he describes five essential creative thinking steps you can use when in search of a solution.
When you do receive the fabulous solution you are looking for, you will forget the pain of overcoming it along the way.
Growing your business can be an exciting, but nail biting time. There are, of course, different ways to grow your business and yet many choose tendering for contracts as their method.
Having a clear and thorough understanding of your market is the first step. How well do you know your competitors and what they can offer? It's not that you should try to copy what they can offer...you should use the information to be creative in developing your own offer. The bringing together all your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats from all your external market analysis can help you structure your product or service.
How you price your offer needs careful consideration. If you are entering a new market or location you may want to submit a low price in order to gain the work. However, if you are a small business this may not be an option. So finding a way of adding value to the contract may be a better option.
The treatment of overheads is another key consideration and one that is often calculated incorrectly. The incorrect allocation of overheads can create queries which the commissioners will want answers to and could either price you out of the market, or the commissioners can up your risk rating.
Lastly, the way to keep your costs competitive is to have a full understanding of what your activities and processes are that generate those costs. As businesses change over time, both organically or in a planned way, processes or activities that worked well at one time may no longer serve you well. Unnecessary activities can end up not only slowing down the delivery of your product or service to your customers, they can also cost you money.
Want to learn more about making your business contract ready? Then join me on my COMPLEMENTARY WEBINAR on 24th March at 2pm. Places are LIMITED so book now to ensure your place http://app.webinarjam.net/register/21616/bc93ccd515Unsure whether to join, then see what people say about my webinars:-
"I found the webinar really useful in helping me to think about being 'contract ready'. I found Debbie's deliverystyle engaging and interesting to listen to. The content was well presented and at a level which I could understand - but which also made me think! I found it educational, enjoyable and would highly recommend it as a starting point for getting your organisation contract ready" (Rachel Cruise - Operations Director)
"You are inspiring. Your webinars are great." (Paula Eyre - Business Analyst)
“I really enjoyed your webinar.” (Mary Lunnen - Dare to Blossom)
book your place now http://app.webinarjam.net/register/21616/bc93ccd515
Today we are all working within a complex and changing environment. The only thing that is predictable is unpredictability. It leads organisations to restructure on a regular basis; this has the impact of forcing us to continually face change when we are not ready for it. The result can be high levels of stress which are difficult to deal with.
So we try to take responsibility for our lives by studying more, working harder and collecting more qualifications. All in an attempt to help us to stand out from the herd. At one time these strategies worked. But they no longer serve us well or provide us with competitive advantage, because everyone else is dong the same.
So how do we take responsibility for our lives and stop ourselves from being blown about by the winds of change? Well, there are a few things we can do...
watch the replay later) http://app.webinarjam.net/register/21616/10056f6e10
image : Jack Moreh/ freerangestock.com
It doesn't matter who we are, or what we do, we all have one thing in common...we all have thoughts.
Whether you realise it or not, our thoughts are so powerful...powerful enough to start the creation of new products or services.
In fact everything that has ever been made or devised once was a thought in someone's mind before it was brought into reality. It's crazy to think that once, the technology you are using to read this was once a figment in someone's imagination...
But however good thoughts are, things wouldn't materialise into actual products or services without action being taken to make those thoughts a reality. So that brings about an interesting question... if everyone is having thoughts and crazy ideas about what can and cannot be done, why doesn't every idea materialise into reality?
Well, it all comes down to action.
Thoughts and visualising are fantastic tools. But they must be followed by action if they are to make a difference. So that creates two kinds of people...those who bring their thought inventions into life for the world to benefit from...and those who let their thoughts disappear into the ether never to materialise.
The first group of people are those who take action and are generally successful. They are doers. They follow through on their thoughts with action and plans. They are optimists and generally expect to be able to make things happen.
The second group could be considered mediocre by comparison, and have much more passive personalities. This second group of people either don't believe in their own abilities, or worst still believe; but postpone any action...waiting for tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. And the world never benefits from their ideas.
Generally, everyone wants to be in the first group, because when people take action and follow their dreams and inspiration they gain confidence, they develop a deep sense of self-reliance and inner security. Whereas the people in the second group find their confidence is whittled away over time and they end up settling for mediocrity.
So how does our thinking effect our businesses?
Well, it all comes back to Henry Ford's saying, "whether we think we can, or think we can't, either way we are right." If we have an active personality and set of beliefs, we will look for opportunities and take advantage of them when they come along. But if we have a passive set of beliefs we will hold back, unsure of ourselves and our abilities, and in doing so, will inadvertently hold the business back.
The important thing to remember is that no matter how efficient and effective the processes are within a business and how they add value to the customer, we can never forget the critical importance to a business of understanding how its employees think. And as important - make sure they are encouraged to voice those ideas; and that those ideas are valued.