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I learn therefore I am…

Some weeks pass fairly routinely. Some weeks are full of LEARNING. Learning can be painful. Literally. Last week was a week of learning for me. Here’s what I learnt –

On Monday I learnt that just because I’m up early and wanting to start my week productively, it does not automatically follow that the tween off-spring are similarly motivated. I also learnt that I probably do too much for them!

On Tuesday I re-learned the value of spending time with like-minded colleagues. I travelled between Hamilton and Auckland with Richard Francis from Bruntwood Consulting, a colleague I often conduct strategic thinking and planning seminars with. Great to expand ideas, and share concepts with someone on the same page!

On Wednesday I learnt how good it feels to achieve goals even if they are past your desired deadlines. I finally finished a project that has gone on for months longer than I had wanted it to. I also reached one of my personal 2013 goals- finally!

Thursday was a day of massive learning. On Thursday I learnt several things in the space of about 1 – 2 seconds. Firstly, I learnt that steam burns – really burns. Secondly I learnt not to reach over the top of a boiling kettle even if you are about to drop the lid of a canister. Thirdly I learnt that all the cold water in the world won’t stop blistered skin from hurting. And over the next few days I learnt how to dress and change bandages on burnt skin. Youch! Won’t do that again.

On Thursday I also remembered the value of networking and how business people are great company, when I attended the Waikato Networking Group monthly café meeting (that was before I burnt myself). I learnt at that meeting about two local businesses that will really help me and some of my clients. I hope some others learnt a bit more about what I do.

On Friday I re-learnt how important it is to have adaptable presentation styles when I spoke in quick succession to a group of blue collar workers, some of whom are illiterate, and then a group of professionals. Same topic, very different ways of communicating required.  I also learnt that when you have a painful injury, kids, mortgages and a business to run, Valentine’s Day can pass you by.  Luckily I also re-learnt how romantic my hubby is – a lovely red rose and ‘marriage joke book’.  I particularly like the joke that ‘A married woman spends most of her time dealing with problems she wouldn’t have had if she wasn’t married.’  I’m sure that wasn’t his favourite!

On Saturday, I learnt again that being in business is not a Monday – Friday 9 – 5 job. I also remembered how fortunate I am to be in a business where I can really help other businesses, and have the personal flexibility of working times that I enjoy!

On Sunday I remembered what a beautiful country New Zealand is when I arrived in Taupo to work for the next three days. The Lake looked gorgeous in the fading sun with three swans catching supper, right outside my hotel window.

Have a good week and hope you learn something!

Find out more about Jenni at http://www.strategies-direct.com

Categories: Coaching, Humour, Leadership

The Devil is still lurking…

I just had one of those evenings – you know, when everything goes wrong. Not badly wrong, just enough to waste time and energy, and be really irritating.  It all happened because I got into the detail.  I used to work with a manager, autocratic type, and I didn’t agree with much of what he said except this – “the devil’s in the detail”.   It was one of his favorite expressions and I have to agree.  Perhaps that’s what I love about strategic thinking – not too much detail!  But of course, sooner or later you have to implement and that means – detail.

Tonight I was attempting to use a new software that’s been recommended to me.  There is some strategic benefit to this.  It will help me offer more services on-line.  If  it works.  All was going well when suddenly one of the key functions shut down for no apparent reason.  Just at that moment domestic issues surfaced and I had to run off and sort those out.  When I got back that function had returned but another had gone.  And it wasn’t quite doing what I had expected overall.  What I had thought would be a 15 minute quick trial has turned into a couple of hours.  Why is technology like that?  It’s supposed to speed things up but too often it takes way too long to figure out.  Or maybe I’m a technophobe, but I don’t think so.  I quite like new tools and software – but only if they do what I need them to.

So now I guess I’ll have to go and read all the tutorials or watch the video versions.  Video takes longer, I can skim the text, so I’ll start there.  Hopefully it’s just some little detail that’s messed things up.  The strategy is still  on track – delivering more on-line.  That detail devil is doing its best to send the strategy off-track but I won’t be beaten.  Last resort – read the instructions!

How to achieve your long term goals – according to the cat!

I met a friend for coffee the other week and she told me an amazing, funny story. When her children were teenagers their neighbours got a cat. The cat took a liking to my friend’s daughter, but even more, to their house. Now unfortunately for Puss, my friend did not like cats so had no intention of letting the cat into her house.

The cat tried really hard to get in. He even attempted a drop-in from the skylight above, but all to no avail. My friend was not letting the cat in, no matter how much he wanted to be in. A few years on, my friend’s daughter got married and moved to the other side of town. The neighbours asked if she would like to take their cat, given he was clearly fond of her and she of him. She agreed and Puss moved to her new home. But a few months later, my friend decided to move and sold her house to her daughter and her new husband. So guess who finally got to move into the house? – yes, the cat!

The moral of the story is this. You never quite know how things are going to unfold, so that your goals are achieved. Sometimes you have to be persistent. Sometimes you have to wait a while. Sometimes it seems quite hopeless and you seem further away from your goal than ever. But hang in there – keep focused on important goals and don’t give up. Sometimes things work in very roundabout ways and suddenly – your goal is achieved!

Jenni Murphy-Scanlon is an author, consultant and trainer specialising in strategic thinking and leadership. She offers you a free report on ‘How to Think Strategically’ at her website – http://www.strategies-direct.com

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