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Mistakes

It was a painful error. “That one wrong move cost me the game” said my son, as his younger sister wrapped up Settlers of Catan at the weekend.

Catan is a family favourite in our home – and possibly yours too.

For the second week in a row, the youngest member of our family was victorious. It was also much to the chagrin of her older brother! Yet, only a few moments previously the game was in the balance. It was simply because of one move made a little earlier in the game, that the damage was done. Ultimately, a short term advantage led to the defeat. It wasn’t until a few moments after making the move, did he realise his error, which ultimately cost him the game.

The learning occurred for my son when he owned up to making the mistake. Yes, he was irritated a little by his lapse in judgement and I’m sure he’ll learn from the error and think things through more carefully next time.

One wrong move in a game of Catan, isn’t as serious as making a wrong move in life. Yet, in life too, we sometimes make poor choices that can ultimately have life changing consequences.

Mistakes are simply a part of the learning process and are very valuable. Its okay to make them, as long as you learn from them and remember the lesson.  So, lets embrace them and keep moving forward!

What mistakes or wrong moves have you made at home, at work, or even in life and what lessons did you learn?

Annoying!

“There’s something not right with that tyre dad, I’ve had to blow it up again” said my son Kyle.

Both my son and daughter had mentioned this fact to me several times over the last few weeks. It was a little thing really, but it was starting to bug all of us.

So on Saturday I took their car into the garage and had them look at the back tyre. After a couple of minutes, he’d found a nail in the tyre and subsequently off he went to fix the puncture. Ten minutes later – the job was done and my wallet was £20 lighter.

The tyre had become a bit of an annoyance, due to the infrequent, unpredictability and intermittent nature of the flat tyre. Finally, it had been going on for quite a few weeks, plus Kyle had been into the garage before and they’d found nothing – even more annoying!

Annoyance – a cause of irritation or vexation; a nuisance.

What little things do you find annoying? What pushes your buttons?

Some top tips to deal with those little irritants!

– Slow down, breathe – is it worth getting upset about?
– Consider your perspective, the momentary issue will pass.
– Have fun, laugh at yourself, don’t take it too seriously.
– Ask yourself how important the matter really is.
– Ask yourself is their something I can do to make it better?

Obstacles

As a youngster, I was always picking up a new sport, entering a race, or trying out for a new team.

Somehow, in my first year at high school, I managed to qualify for the 100 metres hurdles at our annual schools sports day at the local athletics stadium. My hurdling technique was limited at best, and yet I made it to the final. I gave it my all that day, but ended up finishing in last place. That was the end of my hurdling career! However, I did end up playing football, rugby, basketball and badminton through my high school years, enjoying a fair bit of success and failure too in many of the team sports.

The key to success in my sports journey was having highly effective coaches to help us all along the way. I have fond recollections of the enthusiastic guidance Mr Montgomery and Mr Galbraith provided on many occasions.

In a similar manner, I feel extraordinarily blessed to do something I love every day. As a qualified coach I have regular opportunities to help people along their way in their personal life or professional development. Life has a great tendency to keep raising the hurdles that come along. Yet, experience has taught me that working with a coach can help overcome any obstacles.

How can I help you improve your position?

Discouragement

Even in the darkest of nights, never give up….

Just married and living in Holland, I’d just finished a long backshift in Montfoort. It had just gone midnight and it was a 5 mile bicycle ride home to Harmelen.
I got on my bike in the heavy rain and wind, to start my journey. Seconds later, I discovered that I had a puncture in the back tyre. With no repair kit, filled with discouragement and annoyance, I had no option but to wearily set out on a walk along a poorly lit road for home. Over an hour later, weather worn and drenched to the skin, I made it into the house.
I have never forgotten the feelings of frustration in my heart and mind in the early hours of that gloomy morning.
Discouragement can be a pretty common ailment and frequent visitor in our life – do you agree?
I learned an important lesson that dreary morning. The road home was a slog, but despite the setback and the hardship, I pushed forward through the darkness, against the wind and the rain – and made it safely home.
In a like manner, there are many times in our life that discouragement may prevail. Yet, by placing things in perspective, I know that some things are only for a brief moment in time – temporary obstacles that can be overcome. I learn from it and move on.
Remember, even in the darkest of nights, never give up. Morning always comes.
What do you do when you are feeling discouraged?

Teaching

How do you learn?

Experience has taught me that the best way to 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧 something is actually to 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐢𝐭.

It is really a simple principle.

Several times recently whilst grappling with learning on virtual platform technologies, I was reminded about the very moment you feel that you’re responsible to teach something. In that moment, I know that I learn it so much better. At least I know I do ……do you?

Why is that?

I recognise I delve into things a little deeper, I pay more attention. I work much harder to understand. I’ve noticed too that I ask better questions to gain clarification. I study and explore more. In essence its because I feel much more responsible, not only for my own learning, but I recognise too that I need to convey that learning with power, conviction and understanding to others.

So – do you really want to learn something? Then go on, give it a go – 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐢𝐭!

Learning in Lockdown

The first 50 days (and counting) in lockdown. Here is what I learned.

I have some good habits and routines already in place. I’m an early riser, I study, meditate, plan my day, set my goals and take regular exercise. Work has changed from mostly face to face, to all virtual. So, what have I been learning?

Waiting is hard – I still have much more to learn about patience!

These last 50 days I have learned that patience is far more than simply waiting for something to happen. Rather, patience requires that I actively work towards a worthwhile goal by focusing on those things I can control and choose not to get discouraged when results don’t appear as quickly as I’d hoped for.  It also requires that I have had to put on hold some of the biggest desires of my heart for a little while longer by making alternative plans. (Charity Skydive – on hold ☹)

Patience means actively waiting and enduring really well.

In these challenging times I have learned not to be dismayed or to give up too easily, when I know that I’m doing the best I can.  I am also beginning to understand that I should be satisfied with my progress even though it may come very, very slowly at times.

In what area of your life do you struggle to be patient?

What have you learned during lockdown?

Do you see?

Are you quick to observe?

It was 1972 – one Sunday morning, I was a youngster and I’d determined not to go to Church with the other members of my family. Apparently, I had a bit of a reputation for running away on Sunday mornings and hung out with other friends. However, as I remember it, toward the end of the service that day, I’d walked in, sat down on a chair, and fell asleep!

The distance from our home at the time to Church was several miles and back then we’d take the bus. I recall being asked “How did you manage to find your way here?” I replied “I just walked along the route the bus took!” Little did I know then, as I do now that, “the route the bus took” was anything but direct, and added at least 2 miles on the journey!

As a young child, observation was a key learning outcome – and so it is in life. Had I not been observant on my previous bus journeys – I’d never have reached my destination that day. When we are quick to observe, we promptly look or notice and obey.

Dennis Waitley said “we learn by observation, imitation and repetition”

There are lots of examples of observational learning. Pay close attention to all that goes on today, pause, reflect and observe – you’ll soon see what I mean!

Mortality

As Goethe put it, “things that matter most are not at the mercy of things that matter least.”

As a teenager, only moments ago, I had time aplenty. Now, in my mid 50’s – I’m acutely aware of my mortality, my time here on earth is running out!

Jack N. Gerard observed “We live in a world of information overload, dominated by ever-increasing distractions that make it more and more difficult to sort through the commotion of this life….Unless we take the time to reflect, we may not realise the impact of this fast-paced environment on our daily lives and the choices we make.”

As I flick through TV channels, or scroll through social media, too often I find a world saturated with incessant noise, much of which is too loud, garish and crude. We need to pause and contemplate what we choose to do with the precious gift of time, before we fritter it away in frivolous “trivial tripe!” said James E Faust.

We don’t need more time. We have all the time there is. No one has more of it than each of us has. We must manage ourselves accordingly, rather than allowing conditions to manage us. Step back from the world – ask yourself how will I measure my life?

Treasure your time, value it, use it wisely. Much will come from very little effort.

What can you change today?

Repetition

I was just married, living in Holland in 1994 and was struggling with the language. I’d like to share a learning lesson in a kaaspakhuis (cheese warehouse) in Woerden. My first job in the Netherlands!

Dutch cheeses are ripened for many weeks, sometimes for more than a year, and are often covered with a yellow plastic coating. The plastic coating is added layer upon layer to prevent the cheese from drying out – and at the same time turning the cheese regularly maintains an equal consistency After many days of practice and repetition – I became an expert at applying the plastic and turning the cheese. It was heavy, smelly work – row, after row with shelves 12 cheeses high! I’ll never forget the smell, nor the improvement in my physical fitness & strength over the course of a few weeks of constant repetition!

I’m not exactly sure of the psychology or the science, but what I do know is, that when we repeat something over and over – it becomes easier to learn.

In simple terms repetition enhances our learning. We learn by doing. Zig Ziglar observed that “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”

The key to real learning is repetition.

What repeated learning will you embark upon today?

Learning

I have lost count of the number of learning & development days, coaching sessions, leadership workshops both face to face and virtual I have facilitated this year….. Lots!   Perhaps, (wishful thinking maybe) I have had the opportunity to impact 1000’s of individuals lives for good?

In addition, I have posted regularly about the importance of living your personal values – almost daily! In a like manner, I have endeavoured to live them every day – sometimes succeeding and other times failing miserably.  I recall one post from a few months ago, whilst travelling on a train to Aberdeen, when I figured out that I was a “work in progress”.  As I paused to reflect this morning – three words were impressed upon my mind over and over again.

– Learning – Living – Becoming

What am I learning?

How am I living?

Who am I becoming?

So….

What are you learning?

How are you living?

Who are you becoming?

Learning can be a source of great personal insight to create growth, change and improvement – in order to reach our true potential.

Live those action plans, lengthen your stride, dream big, look up, elevate your thoughts, determine to move ahead and achieve more!