Posted in Power Monday

#Mindset Monday

Mountain Motivational Poster (2)

In a world that has become so busy, it is easy to find yourself starting something and never getting around to finish it. It is equally important to finish what you start because as a  discipline, a commitment, and a show of consistency. Here are a few tips to guide you.

  1. Be Selective in what you embark on, do not just pick anything but pick tasks and assignments that you are passionate about, that will challenge you, add value, and move you forward in the right direction.
  2. Estimate the resources you will need for the task in order to manage expectations and get the job well done. A good example is when you decide you want to start writing, you need to identify the topic(s) you want to focus on, the length, the audience, and the frequency of the writing including the sources of information.
  3. Budget your time and energy by first identifying how much time you need to get the job done and when your energy levels are at their peak. Block the tasks on your calendar and create downtime or a buffer for unpredictable interruptions or pressing issues that may come up. This way you will be able to finish your projects in a timely and successful manner.
  4. Quit being a perfectionist:  perfectionism kills productivity, it makes you miss out on great opportunities as you “wait” for a perfect time to get the job done. Stop obsessing, just start and keep moving no matter how slow, don’t stop. If you are having a challenge getting around the project, consider breaking it down into smaller manageable chunks, then start with a draft and build on that progressively.
  5. Commit to getting it done: hold yourself accountable, hold yourself to your word. When you tell yourself you will embark on something, commit to getting it done. Honor yourself by accepting that sometimes you have to exercise delayed gratification in order to celebrate bigger wins. If what you are doing is not in line with your vision, give yourself permission to walk away from it.
  6. Connect with the bigger picture: envision the end game, what is the end you have in mind? what is your picture of success? find inspiration by surrounding yourself with that which reminds you of your end goal. Additionally, connect with your end goal visually e.g a vision board.
  7. Follow the path of your highest enjoyment: give yourself the flexibility over what to do, sometimes you do not have to follow a certain order to get the job done. Drop a task, move to another, and come back to it when there is more inspiration, it is more productive.
  8. Track your progress: have a measure for what you do, what gets measured gets done, what gets measured gets improved. What indicators will you put in place to know that you are making progress? what are the key things that need to get done? what is your target? Tracking makes you accountable to your goal and helps you stay on track.
  9. Celebrate your milestones: no matter how small the progress, it’s a win that needs to be celebrated. Almost everything you have done so far is an accomplishment. Celebrating progress keeps you motivated to do more.
  10. Don’t force it: If it is not working leave it or rework your plan. sometimes it is possible to lose interest in a goal you were once so enthusiastic about. You can either decide to do it differently or do something different altogether.

 

Posted in Power Monday

#Mindset Monday

You are the Sunshine Valentine's Instagram Post (1)
There are 7 ways we think about ourselves, our surroundings, and the future. Happiness and success are distilled in the following 7 mindsets:
1. Everything is possible: meaning we are all capable of living extraordinary lives. everything that exists was once an idea but someone believed it enough to make it a reality. Dream big in all aspects of your life, embrace your creativity and expect great results. This way you will envision a wonderful life and make it possible to execute the process of making your dreams come true. Raise your expectations! when you do, your future becomes bigger and brighter.
2. Passion first: we are each a unique expression because each one of us has that thing they do well. Doing that which you are good at, allows you to excel, get better results where you and others benefit. Know your strength(s) to create the most value. Our lives should be focused on finding that uniqueness and then strive to share it with the world in the best way possible. Learn to make your dreams so authentic and critical that you find the fuel to overcome the obstacles you are likely to face on the journey.
3. We are connected: Everyone who comes into our lives has the potential to impact us in a positive or negative manner as we strive to achieve our dreams. Figure out how those who cross your path can be able to help you and as well be of service to them. Constantly find the connection or synergy(working together of two things for a greater effect) with others, embrace diversity, enjoy competition that will help you maximize your potential with and through others.
4.100% Accountability: Choose to be fully responsible for your happiness and success. Accountability teaches you that you are not a victim of your past and you have the ability to predict your future by creating it. Your life is what you choose it to be from now(reprogram your thinking to overcome limiting beliefs). In the absence of (limiting beliefs)fear, excuses, and destructive behaviors, accountability allows you to break away from barriers, free your mind, and focus your energy on taking the critical steps to accomplish your goals.
5. An attitude of Gratitude: Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Seek to find something positive from every experience and be thankful for what you have. An attitude of gratitude teaches you that you can choose the positives or negatives in your life to act as the foundation on which to build your future and cultivate your own greatness. The positive will lead to progress then success and the negative a likely downward spiral.
6. Live to give: Learn to give the best of what you have, do it because it is the right thing to do. If you teach, do it in the best way you can to get the best results. Make a difference and help someone. You can only get what you give. There is abundance in your life cycle. To receive love, respect, and financial security you must first learn to give those things. simply put, leverage that unique thing you give to the world and it will be returned to you in kind.
7. The time is now: Harness the power of now and take purposeful action. You cannot change what happened yesterday but you can take deliberate action now to create the life you have dreamt of.
Adapted from the “7 Mindsets to Live Your Ultimate Life by Scott Shickler & Jeff Waller.
Posted in Power Monday

Susan Kiamba

Bio Pic_Susan Kiamba

Name: Susan Kiamba

Current profession: Learning & Development Consultant & Corporate Trainer

What did you study in college/university?  Was it what you wanted to study?

I studied Education and no it wasn’t my first choice. I initially wanted to be a psychologist, because I thought it was really cool. I was fascinated by how psychologists would say “Tell me more” and they sounded so deep.  I was grudgingly convinced to take education. My relatives advised that if I really wanted to do Psychology it was actually a part of the Education course and I could always pick it up later as a specialization. I am a teacher by training. It took me a while to appreciate that you can teach without being in a classroom. This was because of the image I had of teachers when I was growing up. Teachers were always on strike and complaining about poor pay. The impact of a teacher is unforgettable. In the history of the teaching profession, never has a teacher been appreciated like in the season of Covid-19 because people have now seen that they work very hard, teaching is actually a very noble profession and has a lasting impression.

My father is a retired teacher; the reason I love to read is that he introduced me to books at a very early age. I had books everywhere, he would also say to me that if I did not know the meaning of a word I should underline it, get the dictionary and figure out what it meant. The fact that I have vocabulary today, I attribute it to him getting that reading culture going for me. Teaching, as I later learned, takes different forms, because what I do today is a form of teaching. I am still imparting knowledge and wisdom.

 What was your first job? Any lessons to share from it?

It was a sales job with a local bank and the biggest lesson from that time was that sales is not about pushing products on people but about building relationships. The lesson did not hit home then but looking back, I realize any time I made an effort to build a relationship with a prospective client, they may not have closed immediately, but a month to three down the line, they would come back and tell me they had some time to think and they were ready to proceed which of course was counter to everything you know because at the bank it is more about pushing the numbers like “how many did you close today?”

I was under a lot of pressure to deliver numbers, I struggled but I still focused on building relationships.  The irony of it all is when I was later transferred to a different department, (we used to be given handsets to make calls) the person who got my handset inherited all the relationships I had built, I think the first month he got more than 20 calls from clients I had built a rapport with indicating they were ready to proceed. He literally ripped the benefits of my relationship building.     Focus on building the relationship first then the sale will follow.

Is there too big or too small a job?

I think that every job is important, and you can learn from any job. You don’t have to be the CEO of a company to impact people. Even a cleaner can impact people even more than probably the CEO and vice versa. Simply because I am the CEO and someone else is a cleaner, none of our jobs is too big, they are just different and have a part to play in the bigger scope of things because the one-time people realize they really need help is when the tea lady, for example, is unwell and people in the office notice there is no tea and there is no one to send for Mandazi, to ask or to buy from then you realize that she is really important. But when she is ever-present you think she is just a tea-lady, so you then realize she is as important as the CEO.

Describe a normal working day for you?

There is no normal day for me, I am ready for anything because plans often change, but there are a few constants such as 3 times a week I sit down with a group of ladies where we have something called “a writing room”. We are all committed to writing something, during that one hour every three times a week, we just write, someone is working on a novel, another a book and another an article so everyone is working on something; we write because we are committed to becoming better writers and then once we are done with our writing we have a debrief session where everyone comes in and shares what they wrote about it and then we ask questions, offer suggestions and appreciate the work.

I generally wake up between 3:00 to 4:00 am, my morning routine would be; daily devotional followed by workout then time to do my own writing. In the course of the day, I have different things which happen A typical day includes clients’ meetings, delivering training, client work, my own reading, creating my own content, supporting my children with their classes/learning activities, breaks, and family time.

 What drives or motivates you?

The desire to help others grow, whether it’s personal or in business, whatever it is for me just wanting other people to grow and be better than they are.

Ever had a bad /good boss? Lessons learnt or advice to offer?

I have had both:  From the good boss I learned that you have an opportunity to learn anywhere every time; meaning when things are going your way, that is an opportunity to learn and when things are not going your way like you get thrown a curveball or you are given something you think you can’t do, again that is an opportunity to learn and grow. So embrace whatever comes your way and try and find the good out of it.

My bad boss used to shout, lecture, and berate you. I remember a time he lectured me for an hour for something that was not my fault but more his fault because he failed to provide the information I needed to do the job well. This hit hard on my self-confidence and self-esteem because I believed I was a professional who knew what they were doing. By the time the conversation was over, I wanted nothing to do with him or the project at hand. I learned that you can get more out of people with praise (praise them for the things they are doing right) than with criticism. You can get more out of people with praise than criticism. If you have to give developmental feedback, do it in a way that addresses the issue and not attacking the person.

Your take on ethics and integrity? Is it important to you?

It is Important. I know sometimes there are grey lines but do the right thing even when it’s hard. Do the right thing especially when it is hard because others are looking up to you. And if we all did what we said we would, our societies would be a better place.

As a parent, I try and teach these things to my children, they watch me and they will call me on it if they feel I am not saying and doing the same thing.  Meaning I have a responsibility to those who may not know the right thing to do and show them the way and to those who know the right thing but are struggling to show them that it is possible to do it even when it is hard.

When you are not in your work element what do you do for fun? 

Anything active like Aerobics, Zumba, and walking.

Best money advice you received or would give?

I received it from my mother and it was “start early and don’t wait for millions to manage them”. E.g. if you have kshs5,000, use it wisely. If it means you need to set aside some to save, set aside to invest but just start early. I still remember when I got my first job, that was the first thing she told me to do. “start saving now.” At first, it did not make sense but when I went back and saw how that saving had grown over the years, it gave me a better appreciation. It helped me access even more funds, so start early with whatever you have.

Most notable achievements?

Two things come to mind. I have had the opportunity to set up departments from scratch twice and both were successful. The first time I was transferred to another department. I went to set up a helpdesk for them. I remember arriving and having all the pending work dumped on me. Yet, I didn’t understand what the department did. Or even their processes. I had to learn fast and on-the-job.

The other was setting up and aligning a training department for a client whose business did not have the right structure and was able to bring some order and proper system into the whole structure. I was happy to do it and leave them with something they are still able to use to date.

Lastly, when the pandemic happened there were a lot of desperate conversations in relation to job losses, people feeling helpless. I had the idea to put together a resource that would help someone who had lost their job to be able to bounce back. I wrote it in three days and the feedback was overwhelming. It brought a sense of happiness (been able to put tools in the hands of people that needed them) and pride (I was able to do it in three days) been able to achieve that quick turn-around without overthinking, it was truly an achievement.

Biggest challenge(s) faced and how you handled them?

The first 7 years of my career were the slowest years ever. I had had this dream of how my career would progress from one level to another, but that is not how it worked out. I was passed over for promotions more times than I could think of, I had to fight to be converted from contract to permanent and pensionable staff. I just kept finding hurdles along the way. For those years I felt like nothing was moving and more like things were going round in circles. I had wanted to work in the Human Resources Department for a very long time and every time I tried to break through, I just couldn’t. I would be promised a role only to discover a new person was hired for that role and was required to train them on what to do. That was the time I learned that you can create your own opportunities because by then I could do my job with my eyes closed. I began looking around to see what else in the department looked neglected that might be exciting for me to do and enrich my job. I found this project which I informed my supervisor and told him that I would be doing it over and above my work. He gave me the go-ahead. This helped kill the monotony of coming to work and doing the same thing. I made some great connections with colleagues from other departments and began to network as well as identify who could help me when and who I could help, when.

My journey on LinkedIn, started around this time as it was a way to vent out what I was going through. I wrote about it and got perspective. Part of that perspective was that growth is not necessarily vertical, it can also be linear. So, you don’t have to be moving up to prove you are growing, the question is what skillset are you adding that you did not already have before by having this linear movement that you are able to acquire. The other thing that helped was helping other people. When new people came in and did not know what to do, I would help them. I would do career sessions with graduates,3rd, and 4th-year students to help them figure their way out before they got to the job market. So I created my own opportunities, wrote about it, gained new perspectives, and helped others.

Is reading important to you? what are you currently reading?

Very important, it’s a habit I enjoy.

Career game plan- Colletta Macharia

One-hour content-Meera Kothand

Who do you look up to for inspiration? / Most influential people in your life?

My husband and my children because they challenge me to be a better person. They push me to be better every single day. I have written what I would want people to say about me in my eulogy; but for me, the biggest sense of accomplishment would be if my children and my husband said those things because they are the ones who know me best since they spent the most time with me. They keep me agile, they will call me on something if I am not practicing what I preach.

Employment or entrepreneurship?

I think that everyone should do both at least once in their lifetime. My thinking behind this is, I spent about 10 years in the banking industry which was very orderly, well put together and structured organization. This meant you knew when to do everything, how to do everything and no thinking required. During my stint, I held several roles but never did I sit to think “how can we adjust ourselves and our services to be more customer-centric?” I never thought about how we could improve our processes to create a more enjoyable customer experience. Then I left the bank and joined a start-up. One of the things that nobody tells you about start-ups is you have a job title, but that is all it is. You will end up being everything! Some days I was the administrative assistant, other days the operations manager and finance manager. I literally did way more than the actual job description. For the first time, I had to think about the market for example, how could we position our solutions in a way that made sense to our clients. I had to think about how our clients were experiencing our service. I now was on the other side having to think about things I had never considered, having to put structures in place, manage consultants, develop strategy, business development, and create client proposals. Looking at my journey, I came from structure to no structure and then ventured into consultancy. Those three mindsets are completely different. How I thought as an employee in a bank/employer who had everything in place, how I thought for an employer who was a start-up who had to figure out a lot and how I think as a consultant who is running her own business. Everyone should experience both…experience employment because it gives you some sort of structure especially if the organization is structured, guidance, and direction of how things could look if they are done well. When you move over to entrepreneurship you are able to start off with some sort of structure that you can then build on. At the same time, entrepreneurship forces you to exercise your creativity. To see solutions in problems and how things can be done differently. As an individual, you need to do both as it will give you a perspective you would never have gotten before.

Your take on Leadership?

We are all leaders because leadership is about influence. For as long as you have even one person you are influencing, then you are a leader. Beyond the influence, you should be able to answer three things?

  • Do you inspire that person to be a better version of themselves?
  • Do you care about that person and do they actually know that you care about them? are you expressing that care in healthy ways?
  • Can people trust your leadership through good times and when times are bad?

Leadership is also about identifying the areas that need improvement and working on them to be better.

Final words to young and upcoming professionals

Many times life doesn’t go the way you planned. You need to be agile and need to adapt. You can get good out of any situation. I consider my early career days to have been turbulent since things did not go as expected, but good things came out of every single role I held. In hindsight, I learned at least one thing from every role. You can get good out of any situation, even when it doesn’t seem like any good will come out of it. One of the mistakes I made earlier on but is clearer now is I did not have a concrete plan that was backed with activity, instead, it was more like a general goal of what I wanted to.

Have a plan, work the plan, adjust the plan, and have somebody to hold you accountable.

Posted in Bookish

Make Your Bed

Title:  Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your World And Maybe The World

Author: Admiral William McRaven

Author Nationality: American

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Year Published/ Release:  April 2017

Pages: 130 (paperback)

Book Version:  Kindle Ebook

Insights:

This book was inspired by a speech given at the University of Texas in the same title.  Admiral William McRaven’s speech was based on ten lessons that had helped him complete his training to become a Navy SEAL(Sea, Air &Land)  and carry him through the 37 years of service to the Navy. The speech was so good that it went viral(11 million views).

Here are the 10 lessons from a simple but well-written book.

  1. Start your day with one task completed: If you want to change the world start by making your bed and make sure you do it right as it demonstrates discipline, attention to detail and at the end of the day you will be reminded that you did something well. The simple act of making your bed can give you the lift you need to start the day right and the satisfaction to end it right.
  2. You can’t go it alone: If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.  Learn the value of teamwork and the need to rely on someone else to help you through the difficult tasks. You need people in your life to help you through difficult times. It, therefore, takes a team of good people to get you to your destination in life. You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible and never forget that your success depends on others.
  3. Only the size of your heart matters: If you want to change the world measure a person by the size of their heart. It doesn’t matter what size you are, what color, you are, determination and grit are always more important than talent.
  4. Life is not fair-drive on: If you want to change the world get over been a sugar cookie and keep moving forward. It is easy to blame your lot in life on some outside force to stop trying because you believe some fate is against you. It is easy to think that where you were raised, how your parents treated you, or what school you went to is all that determines your future. Nothing could be further from the truth. The common people and the great men and women are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness. Don’t complain, don’t blame it on your misfortune,stand tall, look into the future, and drive on.
  5. Failure can make you stronger: If you want to change the world don’t be afraid of the circus. In life, you will face a lot of circuses. You will pay for your failures. But,if you persevere, if you let those failures teach you and strengthen you, then you will be prepared to handle life’s toughest moments. Past failures will strengthen you and teach you that no one is immune to mistakes.
  6. You must dare greatly: If you want to change the world, slide down the obstacle headfirst. Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever-present, but those who live in fear of failure , or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.
  7. Stand up to the bullies: If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks. Bullies are all the same; whether they are in the schoolyard, in the workplace, or ruling a country through terror. They thrive on fear and intimidation. Bullies gain their strength through the timid and faint of heart. They are like sharks that sense fear in the water. They will circle to see if their prey is struggling. They will probe to see if their victim is weak. If you don’t find the courage to stand your ground, they will strike. In life, to achieve your goals, to complete the night swim, you will have to be men and women of great courage.
  8. Rise to the occasion: If you want to change the world be the very best in the darkest moments. At some point, we will all confront a dark moment in life. If not the passing of a loved one, then something else that crushes your spirit and leaves you wondering about your future. In that dark moment, reach deep inside yourself and be your very best.
  9. Give people hope: If you want to change the world start by singing when you are up to your neck in the mud. We will find ourselves neck-deep in mud someday. That is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift up those around you, and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
  10. Never ever, quit!: If you want to change the world, don’t ever ring the bell. If you quit, you will regret the rest of your life. Quitting never makes anything easier. Life is full of difficult times. But someone out there always has it worse than you do. If you fill your days with pity, sorrowful for the way you have been treated, bemoaning your lot in life, blaming your circumstances on someone or something else then life will long and hard. If on the other hand, you refuse to give up on your dreams, stand tall and strong against the odds-then life will be what you make of it- and you can make it great. Never, ever ring the bell!

My take:

It a simple book whose lessons remain ageless.

Memorable Quote (s):

“What starts here changes the world.”

 

Posted in Bookish

Finish What You Start

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Title:  Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing & Self-Discipline.

Author: Peter Hollins

Author Nationality: American

Website: https://petehollins.com/

Publisher: Createspace Independent

Year Published/ Release:  March 2018

Pages: 207 (paperback)

Book Version:  Kindle Ebook

Insights:

This book mainly addresses a common struggle that we all experience at some point in our lives. Hollins shares the reasons behind starting a task and not finishing it. He has listed the challenges in a way that is easy to understand and provided solutions that are realistic and easy to adopt. Here are some of the insights Hollins came up with to improve one’s efficiency.

  1. We do not finish what we start because of inhibiting tactics such as setting bad goals, procrastination, indulging temptations, distractions, poor time management, and psychological roadblocks such as laziness, lack of discipline, fear of judgment rejection, failure, perfectionism out of insecurity and a lack of awareness.
  2. We are driven by different reasons to finish what we start. This involves external and internal motivators. External motivators are those that drive you to a negative consequence to serve as a way to push yourself to do something after all no one wants to suffer. Part of this involves having accountability partners who hold you accountable to ensure you keep going and accountability groups that are said to be more effective. Then there is self bribery where you promise yourself a reward if you follow through.
  3. Internal motivators are the “why” for taking action and putting in the effort such as how will your life change or benefit? How will your family benefit? what impact will you have on others and what positive emotions will you get?
  4. Create a manifesto that is a set of rules to follow every day; for example, ask yourself “are you acting out of laziness, and is this a characterization you want about yourself?”  Therefore anything we want to accomplish has an associated opportunity cost so we must sacrifice. Rules take the guesswork out of our days and give us guidelines to follow.
  5. Take on three major tasks a day then learn how to differentiate between important, and urgent tasks and simple wasted motion.
  6. Create daily limitations and requirements for yourself to keep you within the bounds of what you know you need to do. These add up to the building blocks of good habits.
  7. Look through the future and identify whether you like what you see when you consider not following through. Following through is 100% mental(mindset) it is all worthwhile if you hold the belief that hard work can lead to improvement. Believe in your own abilities and become comfortable with discomfort-everything you want to do will have elements of discomfort.
  8. Without following through there is no learning-it is only when you finish something that you can evaluate yourself and correct your errors. Embody an information-gathering mindset. Allow learning as it is a way to test and score yourself based on your progress. Giving up is an automatic failure instead ask yourself ” what can I learn from this?”
  9. Poor moods are dangerous to your productivity, beware of them, follow through and take measures to modulate your stress levels.
  10. Tackle procrastination through temptation bundling. This happens by combining unpleasurable tasks with something pleasurable. Start easy and small to make the path to motion and action as easy as possible. Eventually, you can gain momentum.
  11. Minimize distractions in your environment. Out of sight out of mind. Curate and design your work environment in a way that boosts your productivity. Focus on single-tasking to avoid creating attention residue. Develop a Don’t do list.
  12. Adopt the 40-70 rule to beat in-action through the amount of information you seek. i.e if you have less than 40% information, don’t act but if you have 70%   you must act for you will never have 100% and chances are 70% is more than sufficient to proceed.
  13. When you want to do nothing from time to time, it is a time for rest and relaxation additionally, think of it as mental recovery.
  14. False hope syndrome is when you expect that you will be able to change or improve to an unrealistic degree. Overthinking is sneaky because it feels like action and it even feels productive but it’s not. Overthinking is when you fixate and can’t seem to take the first step toward action so focus on what you can do right now and only right now.
  15. Know yourself well enough to know how you work and produce the best e.g time of day, environment, and setting. Knowing yourself is the ability to look at yourself and understand why you may have failed or come up short. it is the ability self diagnose and be self-aware.
  16. Set up daily systems for success i.e a set of daily behaviors. Keep a scoreboard for everything large and trivial this keeps you motivated and striving toward growth and progress.
  17. Manage your time better by understanding how long things will take in reality and accounting for your own inefficiencies.
  18. Gather all the information and materials you need all at once and before you get started. This allows you to work interruption-free and gather momentum.

My take:

Efficiency comes as a result of daily improvement.

While a daily to-do list is important, a not-to-do list is a great reminder of the habits that can easily slow down progress.

When you gather all the resources you need, in essence, you avoid wasted motion and improve your focus on delivery.

This book serves as a great guide to improving efficiency and getting things done.

Memorable Quote (s):

“Self-discipline is what enables you to get your head down and work when you need to, even if you don’t want to. It’s the ability to control yourself so that you retain focus on what needs to be done, despite the temptations and distractions you may encounter. This element is essential to following through  because its what gives you the power to regulate your own thoughts, feelings, and actions toward ends that are meaningful.”

“Persistence is firmly sticking to something for a prolonged period of time, even as you encounter things that try to unstick you.”

“saying no to some tasks is just as important as saying yes to the correct ones.”