Archives for the ‘Personal Practice’ Category

Bounce: How to harness your resilience in a changing world

The Challenges We Face

Are you feeling stressed? Do you feel uncertain about the future? Everyday we find ourselves facing different challenges, accomplishing various tasks and constantly adapting.

As mankind has evolved, we’ve become more conscious and informed of who we are and how our minds work. Resilience, previously considered a personality trait, is now a vital modern-life skill which can be developed to help us better deal with everyday challenges as well as great adversity.

My friend Lauren L’ecaros and I have created a brand new 75-minute session to help us all better understand how resilient we are and figure out how to become more resilient in order to overcome our next big challenge.

Check out this presentation complete with speaker notes on Slideshare released under the Creative Commons Share-Alike-By-Attribution licence. Have fun with your colleagues, friends and family:

Bounce: How to harness your resilience in a changing world from Portia Tung

Going for Hope

During our search to increase our resilience, we noticed 4 key factors common in helping us tackle our challenges.

We call it the HOPE model.

Help – We can benefit from asking for help as much as giving it
Openness – Being present and daring to be vulnerable with the things we share with others
Perseverance – Never give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try something different
Ease – Strive to perform at your best

Why not give Hope a go?

Write or Wrong

Hope Lives

To be a writer you have to write

To celebrate National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I’d like to share some hard-earned insights from writing my first ever novel, “The Dream Team Nightmare: Boost Team Productivity Using Agile Techniques“. In my experience, these insights apply to any creative endeavour, not just to novel writing alone.

1. Write daily
Bring your project to life then keep it going by working on it little and often. After all, you’re the sole caretaker of your creation. Its existence depends wholly on you. By “write daily”, I mean work on your project every day for at least 30 minutes. Why wouldn’t you do this if it really matters to you? Activities like brainstorming ideas or doing a simple sketch all count. If you get stuck, write about what’s stopping you from writing. It’s a surprisingly effective way of unblocking a gnarly case of writer’s block.

2. Rest one day a week
Take a day off every 6 days or when you feel you need to. If you take a break at the right time, you’ll want to get back to writing after the break. Imagine yourself as a vessel, a coffee mug or a tea cup or something more novel. Whatever works for you. By taking a break, you allow yourself to re-charge so that you have a full cup to work from or at least a new idea to get you writing again.

3. Clear your mind
Most creatives I know have many ideas buzzing in their heads at any one time. This makes getting things done really hard. The secret to focus is to empty your brain of all ideas so that you can focus more effectively on one idea at a time. Jot down all your ideas via brainstorming or make a simple list. Then pick one and focus on only that idea until you get as much written about it as possible right now. You can always add to the content relating to that one idea later on when, no doubt, more ideas will be jostled into existence by your busy imagination.

4. Separate writing from editing
There’s a time and place for everything. When you’re writing, be sure to focus on getting words down on paper. Write freely to achieve flow. Send your inner critic on holiday. Only when you’re editing do you invite them to the party.

5. Have fun!
This is absolutely essential if you wish to create something you love instead of resent. Play gets us moving and keeps us going. I get tedious or tough going tasks done by making it fun. It was really tough, at first, to sit down and work on my project for 30 minutes a day. So I treated myself to some really beautiful stickers and awarded myself one per day on my physical calendar. I figured that if it works for children, why not me? I only needed to do this for 10 days before working on my book took on a momentum of its own and the daily 30-minute timebox became a habit!

6. Stay fit and healthy
A healthy body begets a healthy mind and vice-versa. Go for walks or to the gym to give all your muscles a workout. This time doubles up as a break and a way to stay fit. Bonus!

7. Never give up
You can probably come up with a million reasons why your project won’t succeed and why you should stop right now. In fact, there are plenty of people out there ready to pat you on the back for giving up on an impossible dream. Only you can write your novel. “Just keep writing, just keep writing…”

Happy NaNoWriMo!

Personal Practice: The Art of Asking and Listening

Imagine. You woke up this morning and instead of following Alice down the rabbit hole, you decide to hang out with Socrates. You know, the wise guy who taught people how to think for themselves by asking questions.

What you didn’t realise when you got out of bed this morning is that there’s something different about you today. Instead of the usual ‘telling people what to do and what to think’, you discover that you can only ask questions. And, when asking questions is inappropriate, the only alternative is to listen.

At first, you manage this new way of communicating for only 10 minutes. Gradually, you extend it to an hour.

What do you notice about the quality of conversations you’re having in comparison with your usual way of communicating? And what about the differences in the level of engagement you’re getting from those you usually interact with?

My grandmother used to say, “There’s a reason why we have two ears and one mouth.”

Ask questions. Listen lots. Help people answer their own questions and may be they’ll help answer yours.