Archives for the Month of January, 2011

Matters of Love, Life and Death

The Way We Go

Love, Life and Death are just some of the things I think about during my long commute as a consultant. My mind cycles between these serious themes on a constant quest for ideas to increase the value I deliver – at work, at home and in my spare time.

Begin with the end in mind

Although our lives are enveloped by Uncertainty, one thing’s certain: we’re all going to become grass one day. (Preferably one fine day with clear blue skies and the sun shining.)

Make the most of your timebox

Let’s consider life as one finite timebox. Given we have a fixed amount of time (and we can’t be certain of how much there is), it’s all the more important to:

1. Prioritise our projects by ROI (calculated simply by dividing value by cost while taking into consideration constraints, risks and cost of delay – aka Agile Planning).

2. Create a plan to achieve whatever we need to turn our dreams into a reality.

3. Execute the plan, track progress then re-plan based on real-time information.

A lifetime worth of achievements

Somewhere along the way, most of us will “job” our jobs, do some work and discover our vocation. And amidst all this hullabaloo, many of us will continue to dreams our dreams. I like to think of those dreams as my “gold medals“.

Name that Gold Medal

The key to achieving our gold medals is to name them. Next, break them down into small enough steps that we can achieve in the shortest timebox possible in order to build then maintain momentum.

One way is to think of each of these small steps as gold stars leading towards the gold medal. I like to think of the gold stars like the mini achievements I collect when playing computer games. Get enough gold stars and you cash them in exchange for something you really want (like a new super-skill).

So where’s the love?

Love is what fuels what I do and how I do it. Over the last 3 years, I’ve managed to achieve a large gold star: to love what I do (and, yes, that means I love the work I do). Of course it hasn’t been easy, but it is possible and all the hardwork continues to be worth it.

So what’s my next gold star? To love what I do AND do what I love. Of course it won’t be easy, but some things are for certain: it’s not going to be as hard as I fear it would be and it’s going to be a lot of fun! As for the gold medal I’m working towards? Watch this space.

What is it you love doing? How will you achieve your gold medals?

Rising to the Challenge of 2011

Be Your Own Champion

One of the life-changing moments for me back in 2010 was hearing Sally Gunnell speak at a great networking event organised by Women in Technology, hosted by BP.

The subject of Sally’s talk was ‘Rising to the Challenge – How to achieve a gold medal career‘. Sally shared numerous heartfelt stories from her 12-year long career in athletics and, most importantly, shared her insights on success.

Who’s Sally?

Sally is a former Olympic British Champion in the 400m hurdles. She’s the only woman to have held the European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic 400 metre hurdles titles at the same time. (Read more about Sally on wikipedia.)

Sally Says

Think big. Have dream goals. Define your goals. Know what you want in life. Have a role model. Work out what you’re bad at. Focus on what you’re good at. Remember that your comfort zone gets smaller every day.

Understand yourself. Learn how to deal with setbacks. Work hard. Make sacrifices. Believe in yourself. Develop a positive mental attitude. Don’t let people who put you down influence your whole life.

Put yourself under pressure. Live your dream.

Key Ingredients for Success

Nutrition. Your body isn’t so much a temple as the engine that enables you to realise your dreams. Watch what others eat and work out what works best for your mind and body.

Proper preparation. Build training into your schedule. Train lots.

Be professional. Take what you do seriously. Make everything count.

Respect your coach. Listen with an open-mind. Give things a go.

Don’t worry about things outside of your control. Believe in yourself.

Take regular physical exercise. At least 3 – 4 times a week. It’s the quickest way to feel good about yourself.

Plan for you. Define your goals. Take small steps to get you going and get you that gold medal.

The Difference Between a Champion and a Loser

Winners define what success means for themselves. You decide what constitutes a gold medal for you.

Winners know how to shut up that obnoxious voice in one’s head that says, ‘You’re rubbish. You won’t make it, so why bother?’

Winners know what they’ve got to do. They do the best they can. Once they achieve one goal, they set themselves another.

Being a champion is about sustaining excellence. Being a champion is about ever greater expectations of oneself.

Over to You

All this may sound simple, but it’s anything but easy. What are your goals for 2011 and beyond? And what’s your plan?

Make this year a great one. Because we’re worth it.