I was reminded today in a post by Denis Hitchens of an old fable that still today has a disturbing ring of truth in it in some organisations.
Once Upon A Time,
in a very common enterprise, there were four people named Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and No-one who all had an important job to do.
- Everyone was sure that Someone would do it.
- Anyone could have done it but No-one did it.
- Someone got angry because it was Everyone’s job.
- Everyone thought Anyone could do it and that Someone would do it.
- But No-one realised that Everyone wasn’t going to do it.
In the end Everyone blamed Someone when No-one did what Anyone could have done.
For me, the moral of the story is to take responsibility.
If something is important, either do it yourself, or if it’s possible for you, delegate it to someone else but never assume someone will do it without confirming. If you can’t delegate and you are unable to do it, ensure it’s brought up at a team meeting to make sure it’s dealt with by the most appropriate person.
“It’s not my job” or “it’s not in my job description” doesn’t cut it.
I’ve seen people spend so much energy and time in skirting responsibility for a task that they could have had it done and dusted in a quarter of the time.
If it’s important, get it done and take the credit where it’s due.
â€œSuccess is not the key to happiness.
Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing,
you will be successfulâ€
Albert Schweitzer, 1875-1965
Medical Missionary, Theologian, Musician, and Philosopher
â€œSuccess is simply a matter of luck.
Ask any failureâ€
Earl Wilson, 1907-
â€œThe key to success is to focus our
conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fearâ€
Trainer, Speaker, Author, Businessman
â€œSuccessful people are successful
because they form the habits of doing
those things that failures don’t like to doâ€
Here’s a wonderful animation which makes you think of the five big questions that will get you ahead.
- what’s going well for you?
- what are you trying to ignore?
- what’s boring you?
- how do you want to be remembered?
- who do you love?
- So, what next?
Read my stars today so thanks to Jonathon Recamier for prompting this post. As always, Jonathon had oblique and cryptic references – this time, to leopards and caterpillars. It got me thinking.
In the effort to ‘develop’ ourselves ought we to subscribe to the view that
(a) a leopard cannot change its spots, or
(b) a caterpillar turns into a butterfly
Life is like that. Full of wondrous contradictions.
So, how do we know if we are just simply are the way we are and the attempt to change is futile?
Or, how do we know if we are capable of change and close to metamorphing into an even more brilliant creature?
Life is full of possibilities. Only you can know when you are ready to handle self-initiated change. If you’re not sure, take a small step outside your comfort zone and test your readiness. You can always step back into your comfort zone. But then, maybe you need to step out even more. How do you know? As always, only you can tell. That’s the beauty of life – there are no answers outside. The answers are within.
A lot of people become confused. Lose their way. Get fatigued with all the struggling. End up doing nothing even though they had grand plans.
Why is that?
The Mad Hatter summed it up in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. “If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter much how you get there”. In other words go back to focus on where you were going, what you were trying to achieve and then the path becomes clearer.
Communication is the grease of life. If we fail to communicate, or communicate ineffectually, our relationships suffer, our quality drops and our results don’t meet expectations.
Yet we communicate every day in every way. We have more devices to communicate with then ever and these speed up the process. So, how come ‘we’ are notoriously lousy at it?
Speed is one of the key issues. Emails and texts and phone calls are so quick and easy we often ‘say’ things we don’t mean. No matter how many emoticons we use, email and text have no context or reference to interpret adequately the intent of the sender. And we’re forever in a rush, at least those of us in the cities always seem to be. So we don’t have time to convey meaning much less think about how a person may receive our messsages.
On the other hand, because we feel so pressured these days we end up time poor. After busting your chops at the office all day, sometimes, the last thing you have the energy for is yet another conversation. Ringing or calling in to see family and friends is a struggle. Or time slips by and before you know it it’s weeks and months since you’ve been in contact.And you ownder why you haven’t heard from them.
Then there’s the ‘me’ syndrome. There is an argument that we have become so me-focused that we’re too busy interpreting the world through our filters to think about the impact we may be having on others.
Time. Either master it or become a slave to it and see it rob you of what you value. If communicating with people is important, and it needs to be for a healthy emotional and social life, then schedule it in to your day. If you are a manager, that includes plugging time in your diary at least once a month to have a real discussion with your team members, maybe even over coffee. When you make that time available and use it, give that person your full attention. You can tell when someone isn’t genuine with you, when you can see they are ‘going through the motions’ and plotting what they have to do after they see you. Don’t be known as that person. Give people important to your life and work quality time (I was so trying to not use that term!).
Take time now to jot down the person who first comes to mind when you think of someone you haven’t been communicating enough with lately. Now, commit to contacting that person and schedule it in. You’re on your way to improving the relationships you have!
I recently did an experiential exercise in ‘finding your purpose’.
I took far longer than I realised – time passed quickly as I was patting down walls and chairs, grovelling along a gritty grubby floor, talking aloud as I hit yet another obstacle, frustrated myself and talked myself out of giving up, analysed how this ‘game’ would work and where the cards might be, chastised the Team for setting up such a ***** stupid exercise. Some 45 minutes later I walked out with my card … but not my purpose. And that seems to have been the trick – it seems looking for purpose not a card got you there faster, and that made sense to me.
Since that exercise I’ve been reflecting and I think I’m getting closer to recognising my purpose. I’ve also reflected on my reactions to not finding my purpose/card during that exercise. I found being so close to people and not in contact with them difficult so I talked aloud every now and then and made a funny comment. Humour is definitely my defence. When I didn’t get success, I started blaming others and the process. That resonates in life for me. When I did start to find cards I was initially hopeful but after a few rejects my expectation became, “it’s not gonna be my card”. I can get dejected easily. And I have to admit I occasionally peeked below the blindfold. I guess I do try to cheat a little in life by taking shortcuts, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t serve me as well as doing the job right the first time and taking that extra time necessary. One thing I was grateful for was my fighting ‘survivor’ spirit. As much as at one point I wanted to give up, I didn’t. I wasn’t going to let it beat me. In life, I am persistent and dogged although there are times when I should realise it’s time to give up.
When the Leader said we’ll be finding our purpose and thus we’d be blindfolded, I rolled my eyes – I figured this was a time-filler exercise and I couldn’t see the point too much up front. By the end, it was an exercise that really did point up a number of my behaviours and on reflection that was a salutary lesson for me. I am committed to cutting less corners, acting with more integrity, being open to an experience rather than defensive, taking responsibility for my own behaviour, going with the flow rather than analysing and focussing on the right goal (ie looking for purpose not card). And I’m working out my purpose more clearly.
So, what might have been your lesson from that exercise, other than finding a card or a purpose and how close you are to yours?
What is success to you? It is different for each of us. So bear in mind that
your version of success is just as valid as anyone else’s. The best chance
of success occurs when our goals or dreams are aligned with our purpose.
Once you’ve worked out what success is for you, recognise that you have some
wins and learning experiences along the way. Focus on your dream, do more of
what’s working and less of what’s not, stay committed to the dream and never
give up, and remember success may be one more phone call away, or one
meeting away, or one more day away … who knows how close or far it is?
When you reach your goal, you need to celebrate your wins. That reinforces
to your subconscious that you deserve more success! Life is meant to be fun
so enjoy the journey and contribute to others along the way. These blogs,
for example, are part of my contribution.
The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it – so fine that we often are on the line and do not know it!
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Spirit knows no lack or limitation. When you trust with all your spirit, heart and soul, your faith is usually rewarded. The thing that often gets in the way of being, having and doing anything you want is yourself. Yeah, there’s lots of excuses but peel those away and look at your contribution to the outcome. Deep down we know we are powerful without measure but ‘stuff’ gets in the way. Stuff like fear, and lack of trust.
Surrendering isn’t about sitting back and taking no action. You absolutely need to do everything it takes to achieve your goal. This is more about trusting the universe. Letting go of your attachment to the outcome and simultaneously being open to receive the outcomes. Cosmic, eh?
Don’t give up too soon, Don’t panic. If you’ve planned well, mapped out your goal, know it’s within your ambit then trust that the actions you take will deliver the outcome you need (note I didn’t say “outcome you seek” – ‘cos sometimes what you get isn’t what you’d hoped for and sometimes it’s so much better!). Hang onto your dream, plan or goal and keep checking that you’ve done what you need to do to facilitate it happening … and then trust that it will. Don’t give up or start madly changing course twenty seven times. Have confidence that you’ve planned and acted rightly. Certainty comes from the inside.
I guess it’s kind of like taking a trip to a new part of the country. You know where you want to go, you’ve mapped out the roads you need to follow but on the way it starts to take longer than you thought, and it’s getting darker as night falls, and you haven’t been here before, and …. you panic. You stop. You change course. You analyse your route and whether you took a wrong turn. You check again how long it’s supposed to take. But if you just carried on, knowing you’d planned well and taken the actions you needed to take – and trusted that all would be well – you’d get there, because you expected to.
Tips for surrendering :
1. Look to the past when you got what you wanted. Notice what happened, and that it did happen.
2. Keep a gratitude diary. Recognise the things you have in your life, what you are grateful for. Sometimes we get so caught up in the negatives we fail to stop and acknowledge what we already have. It could just be that we wake up to the day, we enjoyed seeing a rainbow, we have a home and can afford to at least have the basics. Whatever it is. Ever notice how some of the lowest and poorest are grateful for the smallest things?
Be committed. Have a compelling reason for your goal – what will you or others get out of it?
Focus your attention on what you want. A wishful thought is only a good intention until you put action in place. Take decisive action as if you could not fail. Know that the actions you take move you closer toward your goal.
Yes, you may make mistakes along the way … use these to learn from – Edison failed over 1000 times before getting the light bulb right! He just decided that each time he learnt one more way not to do it. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes – learn from them.