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Why study?

“Studying – the act of texting, eating and watching Netflix with an open textbook nearby” – that’s one definition at least!

Why study? Do I really need to?

An oft heard question targeted at a parent, from a challenging teenager perhaps?

Growing older, I’ve discovered that I love to study, i.e. “devoting time and attention to gain knowledge” – perhaps that is a more traditional definition!ย  In fact, my penchant for both good books, research and news commentary have developed over the years into something akin to an addiction!ย  Duolingo, online resources, daily reading and personal tuition have certainly all been extremely important for me right now, as I refresh my Dutch language skills.

So what are the fruits of study? What does it give us in our life – if anything? Why bother?

In my mind, there are many rewards. For example, I’d expect that that there will be an upside in all of following areas of our life, including….

Education, Knowledge, Understanding, Awareness, Influence, Perspective, Appreciation, Decision Making, Opportunities, Achievements and many, many more!

One key aspect of study, is discovery. New insights, new information, new inspiration, new strokes of ideas! Frequently referred to as “aha” moments. They can be magical, exciting and motivational.

My top tip – ๐‘๐’๐•๐ – ๐‘๐ž๐š๐, ๐’๐ญ๐ฎ๐๐ฒ, ๐•๐ข๐ฌ๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ž, ๐๐จ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ

Why not study? And yes – you really need to! Go on, pick up a new book today!

Are you FITT?

Are you FITT?

The FITT principle is a smart acronym that gives athletes a workout plan to help them achieve their goals – yet, in a very similar manner it applies to our learning and development habits too.

Ask any athlete and they’ll tell you what FITT stands for – as follows;
F-Frequency: refers to how often you exercise.
I-Intensity: refers to how hard you exercise.
T-Time: refers to how long you exercise for.
T-Type: refers to what kind of exercise you do.

The FITT Principle can help you create your own powerful learning & development plan.

For example โ€“ letโ€™s consider studying for a new skill or learning requirement:
Frequency – how often you study
Intensity – how hard you study
Time – how long you study
Type – what type of different study tools you use

If you want to improve your learning & development ‘fitness’ – then apply the FITT principle to your plan and routine. It won’t be long before you witness a difference and your learning will be a winner!

Forgetfulness!

“That’ll be ยฃ29.50 please.” “No problem” I replied…. And then it happened!

I checked my jacket pocket for my wallet, then my other pocket, then my trouser pockets. “What a plonker” I thought and confessed to the checkout operator, that I’d forgotten my wallet. She laughed. “Don’t worry about it, it happens all the time!” I laughed too. I realised I’d changed my winter jacket to a summer jacket and simply hadn’t put my wallet in my pocket. The shopping was set aside and I promised I’d be back in 20 minutes.

On arriving home, my wife was working in the garden. She looked at me quizzically and asked “where’s the shopping?” I responded “I forgot my wallet.” She burst out in laughter too!

Back to Tesco. I collected the frozen products, back to the same checkout, paid my ยฃ29.50 and we laughed together a little more…

Almost all of us do thoughtless, impulsive silly things, sometimes through a simple oversight. In fact, blunders are not only an acceptable part of life, but they may even be very helpful. Mistakes frequently help us learn and grow. My experience is that past failures may be guideposts to future success!

Thank you Tesco for helping me see the funny side of my little gaffe and for the good laugh too!

What is your strategy in life?

‘The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do’ says Michael Porter.

In August 1993, I met my future Dutch father in law, Bep for the first time. I learned a lot about him that day, including the fact that he was an avid chess player and amongst the top players in the local club in town. I’m a novice at best, but soon a challenge was issued. Out came the board, chess pieces and a clock too! I’d never even see a chess clock! Needless to say I was thrashed and humbled a few times that day.

Over many years of playing chess with Bep, I observed and learned much about him.

– he was methodical
– he valued time
– he planned carefully
– he was patient
– he anticipated
– he was exact

These characteristics were a pattern for his life. He was a highly skilled carpenter to trade and these qualities I presume were finely tuned over many years of practice.

Sadly, he is gone now.

I did manage a couple of wins over all the ensuing years and yet, I have never forgotten those powerful lessons he taught me.

The clock of life never stops ticking and each of us always needs to carefully consider our next move. What will yours be today?

Honesty

A few months after Decimal Day (15 February 1971), walking home from my grandmothers home, I stumbled upon a great find on the roadside. Unbelievably it was ยฃ40 worth of new notes. It was my lucky day! I guess I was around 6 years old at the time.

I shared the good news with my parents and they asked what I was going to do now? “Keep it” I exclaimed!

I can’t recall the exact words, but then came the teaching moment, “Is that the right thing to do?”

Shortly thereafter, the money was handed into “Lost & Found” at the local Police Station. Some weeks went by, lucky for me, no-one claimed the cash and I recall the money was invested in a bicycle!

As a parent, I’ve experienced similar trips to the Police Station with our children.

This was a great lesson learned for me as a child.

Choosing honesty that day, brought a warm fuzzy feeling inside, one I’ve never forgotten. It was the right thing to do, bringing peace of mind and self respect.

From Proverbs in the Old Testament we read “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Finally, as Carlyle said: โ€œMake yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one rascal less in the world.โ€

How important is honesty to you?

How are you being finely-tuned?

Are you being ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ-๐ญ๐ฎ๐ง๐ž๐ ?

Over the last 2 days, I have spent nearly 8 hours each day on a brand new managing your team virtual learning programme. It has been a stretching experience, long hours, a few headaches and a little bit of pressure thrown in for good measure too. All that said it has been extremely insightful too.

Yesterday, as each of the virtual facilitators took it in turn to deliver a 75 minute section, we carefully listened and participated throughout the learning session. As each facilitator concluded their delivery, one by one, we took it in turns to provide feedback. It was a great experience to receive an in the moment peer review. I came away feeling as if I was being ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ-๐ญ๐ฎ๐ง๐ž๐ !

To fine-tune means: “to make small adjustments to (something) in order to achieve the best or a desired performance”

At the conclusion of the day, each of us thanked our virtual trainer for her guidance and assistance throughout. I came away feeling more prepared, more confident, more assured and primed ready to step up into action!

How are you preparing for your forthcoming assignments and how are you being ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ-๐ญ๐ฎ๐ง๐ž๐?

Looking & Learning

“Daryl, I love your object lessons!” said a course participant.ย  “Many years ago you had me construct a periscope, and I’ve never forgotten the principle of lifting my vision.”

You can find lessons for life in everyday items and activities by simply looking around. As you consider your audience, reflect upon the things you do and observe each day. Your surroundings can come alive with answers to help you teach.

Consider using a simple object as a metaphor or an analogy to help connect the learning.

Some of my favourite objects include – Ear plugs, spectacles, a compass, tuning forks, light bulbs, a torch, wool, stabilisers, tools, batteries, eggs, juggling balls, spinning plates, bread, kitchen utensils, remote controls, razors, periscopes – the list is endless! Look around and use your imagination.

Many years ago, my father taught me the power of observation. Sat in the garden he watched and marveled at the industry and work rate of tiny ants. A few days later he shared those observations in a remarkable speech. I have never forgotten the lessons about work, industry and service. I find through small and simple things the most powerful lessons are learned.

What are some of your favourite object lessons?

Don’t interfere!

A recent experience reminded me that as a leadership coach, one of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that the best leaders have sense enough to pick good people to do what needs to be done. But more importantly, they also have self-restraint enough to stop themselves from meddling with them, while they do it!

My invitation today is a gentle reminder to all of us – to stop meddling! Instead, remember to trust others and simply let them get on with it!

Remember – leadership is a lifelong learning process.

Learning – one by one

I was ready and prepared for 15 participants in the virtual classroom, yet only one person had joined. We waited a few more minutes for any late comers, but alas, no one else joined.
“Now what?” I thought to myself.
I suggested to the participant if they’d like to continue or postpone their attendance to the next session of the workshop in January. After a moment, she responded, “I’m happy to go ahead on my own.” So off we went into our session together.
Our content for the 90 minute session was all about the importance of storytelling in the workplace. After brief introductions, I started into my delivery routine, with a short story of my own. Quickly it became very apparent how powerful a 1-1 virtual learning session can be.
Together we discussed each of the slides one by one, along with current research and virtual activities. We considered several of our own stories, how powerful they can be in the workplace and in our own lives, when shared in the right way. So much so that we dissected some of our own stories even further, eking out simple principles to bring greater clarity and meaning to experiences that life had brought us.
On reflection, it was an insightful 90 minutes, filled with a richness, wonder and powerful 1 on 1 learning.
Key learning takeaway… Never dismiss the one!

Endurance

ooh, ouch, Ouch! OUCH! ๐—ข๐—จ๐—–๐—›!

Maybe I’m just a little adverse to Dentist and Doctor surgeries. I’m not a great fan of either, getting prodded and poked isn’t high on my list of favourite things to do. A wimp, I hear you say!

I had to have blood taken for a medical test last week. As instructed I’d come fasting and hadn’t eaten or drank anything for about 15 hours. After some pleasant introductions, it was time to take the blood. I wasn’t anxious about it as I’d given blood for tests a few times before at a Doctors surgery. This time was to be a little different.

He started in my left arm. The first attempt, no joy. Then to my right arm, again no success. Back to my left arm, once again, it was fruitless! Back to my right arm, another attempt – still nothing. “Bone dry” he said! By this time, I was starting to feel like a pin cushion. “I’ll have to take it from the back of your hand” the Doctor said (5th attempt). A little more painful for sure, but finally, at last, the blood started to flow! What a relief!

There are many challenges in life…

Sometimes we all just have to endure some pretty painful experiences for a little while, before the results start to flow!

What painful moments have you had to endure?