Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Break out of the old

If butterflies did what they'd done in the past they'd have died and not grown to their full potential. I'm not sure we're any different?

In December I facilitated a session on keeping on track in 2012. As part of the process we identified all the skills we'd used to achieve what we did in 2011. We then looked at our goals for 2012 and identified all the skills, behaviours and beliefs we needed to add into the mix to achieve them.

The reminder was that to achieve an outstanding, bigger, better & greater 2012, as I wrote on the day, then we needed to remember these other skills not keep doing what we'd done in 2011.

The challenge is we find the old ways easier to do. I fell down the stairs and found it really easy to slip back into the 'misery loves company' energy. Yes I did need to take it easy but instead of wallowing I could have used the time to imagine/envision and inspire myself whilst my body healed itself.

What behaviours do you need to pull out of the toolkit and start using to ensure you achieve your goals in 2012?


Alison Smith
Helping Procurement teams break out of the old and transform 07770 538159

Butterfly picture from mgcpuzzles - it's a jigsaw!!

Friday, 24 February 2012

The right resources at the right time

Imagine the scene: I've just completed some of my personal training session and my personal trainer says we're moving onto the above exercise (ish). An exercise I've done before lifting 20 kgs. I take the bar in hand and get ready to start. I notice it feels heavier than normal (but it isn't) and already hear my internal dialogue telling me I can't do it. I change the dialogue and do the exercise easily.

But here's what I learnt. At the time just before I started the exercise I wasn't accessing any of the resources (in this case muscles) needed to complete the task. It was only in making the first move to start that those resources turned on.

Isn't that also true in life. We can talk ourselves into not being able to do something and yet that's based from a position of inactivity. As soon as we start to look for the solution we'll certainly then engage the resources we have to make it a reality.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Just simply walk the talk when talking

I went to a conference at the weekend and the insight after the second speaker is likely to change how I speak, teach and even write in social media.

When we arrived we had time to visit the exhibition stands. We weren't there long however. The sale pitches offering us "miracle cures" were simply too much and drove us in the opposite direction.

A little later the first speaker stood up and continued the theme telling us all about their "revolutionary" "magic" "new" "wonderful" "innovate" process. The process wasn't many of those, and yet if I'm honest the premise upon which it's based is nearer my current thinking than the next speaker's. If they'd got the tone right they'd have been pushing on an open door. After all they were talking about things that were well within my comfort zone. The evangelical tone, the need to be right and yes even their ego just got in the way of the message.

The second speaker was talking on a subject out of my sphere of experience and comfort zone - eating raw foods (to the exclusion of the cooked variety). However my experience of what she said was so different. She simply offered her beliefs as just that. They weren't "new" "exciting" or "something not to be missed" they were just beliefs she used to make decisions in her life. She then just explained how she's managed to apply these beliefs to her daily life. Allowing us, I'd suggest, to pick and choose what we might like to take away from her speech.

The message for me was clear - we simply need to walk our talks and share it in ways that allow others to have different opinions. Being evangelical, getting on our soap boxes and ramming it down other's throats and pointing out the error of people's ways wont get us far. As a strategy it will undoubtedly drive away those who may find what we have to share of use if only we'd let go of the need to be right.

I then found this quote in a book I was reading 'act and be as though how you are dictates that everyone else will be that same way' by Kant. So if honesty is your thing you just need to be honest and expect others to be honest not start telling the world about how dishonest the world is.

I said I'd got a lot from the day - lets see whether you think the tone of my blogs/tweets have changed as a result.

Create a great day

Helping procurement walk

"This conversation is older than my children"

"This conversation is older than my children" said a colleague from 15 yrs ago when we met recently.

Did I laugh - oh boy did I laugh. Although you know we often laugh when things have landed and have real meaning for us. It was true - the statement I mean. I had just given an excuse for not doing something that I'd been using since I first met him about the time this picture was taken.

The interesting thing is of course the story I was telling myself wasn't true - they very rarely are. You know the type of story:

  • I can't do that

  • It wont work

  • I'll only fail

  • etc etc

  • Having the 'story' held up for what it was stopped me in my tracks. It now acts as a great reminder ever time I try to retell the story that the only person who believes it is me. Since it's not helping me achieve what I want in life I have a choice keep it and keep getting what I've always got or ditch it and see what happens.

    Will you join me in ditching the stories that no longer support your growth?

    Alison Smith
    Ensuring the stories procurement teams tell about themselves are helpful

    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Finding the motivation

    We know that in order to have the energy to do all the things we'd love to have achieved before we die that we should:

  • Exercise - or at least cut down on the couch potato impersonations

  • Eat & drink healthily - of the min #5aday & max #14aweek variety

  • Spend time with those we love - and not just on the 14th of Feb

  • Spend time doing things we enjoy

  • and avoid food, drink, people, places, activities etc that are not good for us

  • Yet so often we continue to do that which depletes our energy. Since we know what we should be doing I'd suggest it's finding the motivation to make the changes we need to work on.

    One suggestion is to find a big enough PAIN we want to move away from and then anything is possible. The issue is often the pain (less years and less active body in our old age) is seen as too far away and even "wont happen to us". So we don't take action until it does happen to us (or someone close to us) or it's too late. The key is finding a pain we can relate to now. That's why challenges such as climbing Kilimanjaro or events such as getting married act as a great motivator - the pain of not making the changes are too big and not even worth contemplating that we take action.

    2 things happened this week that might shed some light on another solution.

    The first was burning my fingers on the oven. I've burnt my arms many times and they've spent many minutes under the cold tap. This week it was my fingers turn - what PAIN - and was followed by 2 hrs in water. But you know what? I've a new respect for the oven that has changed my behaviour towards it.

    The second was cutting tomatoes out of my diet for 2 weeks along with some other potential culprits for my screaming knees. Long story short but lets just say that a little squirt of tomato sauce on Wednesday teatime led to severe reaction. Suffice to say that any doubts I had about persevering (It's too hard, I like cheese, I don't know what else to cook, it's wont work etc etc) were soon kicked into touch. Resolve has been bolstered and exclusion continues for a few more weeks to give my body time to find balance before trying to reintroduce foods.

    In both instances without the physical pain I would have wavered and continued to do what I'd always done. I'm not suggesting we all run out and physically do harm to ourselves in order to find the motivation. However if you do want to make changes you might want to look for a short term pain that will fortify your will power.

    Wednesday, 15 February 2012

    True understanding of team work

    There's a card in the FCP process I use that invites us to "break through your closed shell of isolation into a true understanding and experience of team work.”

    When this came up in a session I facilitated we explored 3 aspects to the card:

  • breaking through the closed shell of isolation

  • true understanding of teamwork

  • true experience of teamwork

  • It’s certainly very difficult to keep on track if we isolate ourselves, so too if we experience teamwork where everyone operates in their own silos. I'd also suggest that knowing what we should be doing is different to actually taking all the necessary steps to make it happen.

    What would breaking through your closed shell of isolation into a true understanding and experience of teamwork look, sound and feel like to you? What would you do doing, saying and hearing? How would it help in the current situation? What would you be doing differently?


    Alison Smith
    Helping individuals, businesses and procurement experience team work and keep on track in 2012 07770 538159

    Thanks to the centre for teaching excellence for the photo - there's an interesting article on their website on teamworking skills and being an effective team member.
    The insight used here is from the Frameworks for Change © Innerlinks

    Just do something different - NOW

    I had got into a rut in personal training being cooped up in the house all winter. So the first sunny day of 2012 and we stayed outside for the whole session. Fresh air, new perspective - what more could a girl want.

    When did you last do something different?

    Wednesday, 1 February 2012

    Balance in Life

    Following on from yesterday's blog on life balance - Susan Jeffers has a model that I often use with clients to explain why we should aim for 'life balance' and not 'work/life balance'.

    The model Susan uses splits our life into different areas such as the 9 listed below (each of us may have different words but she encourages readers to identify 9).

    Each of the 9 areas provides us with something we need in life. What they are and what they provide will be different for each of us and link to our own individual hierarchy of values. It's this hierarchy and our ability to meet these unconscious desires that will ultimately determine our level of motivation, satisfaction and yes even wellbeing.

    So for example: Work may give us Achievement, relationships may provide Love, hobbies may bring Spirit, leisure may provide Freedom and friendship may bring Connection. In the short term if we don't get Achievement, Love, Spirit, Freedom AND Connection we we may not notice any ill effect. In the long term, however, if all we're getting is achievement then our lack of love, spirit, freedom and connection will make itself heard one way or another - feeling unfulfilled, lack of motivation, unhappiness and yes even illness.

    In essence one area cannot meet all our needs. Therefore in order to have a life that ensures all values are being met it is important to have activities in a number of different areas. So work cannot be someone’s whole life – in order to function, in order to get what they need to survive they need to do other things. In the example above they need to spend time on work, in a relationship, on leisure, on a hobby, with family and friends, on personal growth, contributing and with their higher self. It’s not just because other people want them to but in order to meet their own unconscious physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.

    What areas of your life do you have too high expectations of by spending all your time on them? How can you find more balance in life?


    Alison Smith
    Helping you keep on track by aligning action to your values 07770 538159