This Helps Me In Tough Times

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in life. There are times when you are in a sh*t storm of everything going wrong.

When I’m in that state, there is couple of thoughts that help me get over it:

In couple of days it will be over, no matter what.

People think that in stress time is an enemy, but actually, it’s a friend for me. Because time flies no matter what. And that means that in some specific time, this particular „issue“ will be over, one way or another.

You will learn from this experience.

Every experience has a potential for learning. Even the worst one. So go ahead and take what it has to offer.

Bad emotions are also emotions – the spice of life.

Without emotion we would be just robots. So enjoy the fact that you have some. Be it even anger, sadness, worry or whatever „bad feelings“, those are also important.

Come on, don’t be a whining little girl.

When nothing else works, I just start making fun of myself. That usually kicks my spirit up.

In the end, it is true what Charles R. Swindoll said:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

What about you? What do you tell to yourself, when it’s not all sunshine and rainbows around?

Client Is The Boss – In Practice

It’s 10 PM and I just finished working. Why? Two reasons – a bit bad time management and the fact that the client is the boss.

I haven’t written about my work too much yet. When I was coming to work for DEVELOR one of the first things I asked my managing director – Martin – was: „Who’s gonna be my boss here?“ Coming from position where I didn’t have to face customers it was natural for me to know who do I report to, who’s there to „check on me“. Martin’s reply:

Client is the boss.

And it’s not empty words here. It is like that. One and only thing I need to do is to make sure the client is happy. Whether it’s in the „business hours“ or out of them.

Sometimes it’s not that nice (like today, when I have to catch up on the work and my client needs that offer tomorrow morning in her email). But it also means that nobody is going to check your schedule, give you bad looks when you work out of a coffee place, home, coworking office, or when you take some hours off because you can’t do your best right now. You know you will have to get the work done. It also makes prioritising simple. First client work, then the rest.

I know my role. I’m not here to work, but to deliver. Deliver happy clients. And I get the freedom to do it. 

That’s something I like about DEVELOR.

What Did I Learn From a Simple Football Match

I used to play football (soccer for US people) when I was on my elementary and grammar school. Then I had a knee injury and I stopped playing that much. But I still do.

Last Sunday I went to play after quite a while. As expected, my fitness wasn’t the best. Despite the fact that I run regularly, football is different to distance running. And my technique went down as well. I had a lot of bad moments, when I didn’t perform the best.

But I learnt (or rather re-learnt) one important thing about myself.

One of the crucial parts of football play (and especially in small hall with 4 on 4 game) is to fall back and keep fighting the counter-attack when you lose the ball. Couple of times I didn’t. Mainly not because of the fitness, but because I was pissed with my failure and so I started giving up on the rest of the game as well.

I realised I tend to do this in business and personal projects sometimes. When I fail, I overanalyse, close myself and pity myself. And that way I fail again, because I stop being productive.

By giving into self-pity we stop contributing and build-up to another failure.

It’s absolutely not productive to pity myself, start swearing and be pissed. It doesn’t help nor my performance neither my team-players. It just leads to me being less valuable to my team.

From now on when I get into self-pity mode  I will remember that feeling from the football pitch, when my team-mate yelled at me: „Why don’t you fall back? Why do you stop playing?“

What about you? Do you let the self-pity steal your contribution?

Revisiting your roots

It’s always good to revisit the places which made you. Just now I’m sitting in Banska Bystrica, the town where I spent 3 years of my life studying.

It felt really special driving towards the town. It’s the place where I started discovering my personality and my dreams. It’s where I met my first love. It’s where I started my journey of an „adult“ and I formed my most important attitudes.

That’s why it’s special for me.

What can you get from revisiting the special places of your past:

  • refreshing the old emotions
  • remembering past ambitions
  • remembering great moments
  • rediscovering your thoughts

Most important:

I get the chance to look at my present self through eyes of my past self and see whether I am becoming who I wanted to become.

The most important opinion is our own opinion of us. Revisiting our past gives us the chance to think: „Am I happy with who I have become? Would the myself of the past approve of me today?“

When was the last time you revisited your roots? How was it?

A Closer Look At Your Own Words

Words are powerful. Wary of the words you use and hear from others. They form your actions just like your thinking forms the words.

I have couple of special phrases that I watch out – either in my speech or when talking to others.

I’ll do my best – that actually doesn’t mean it will be done. It means you will try, but maybe if something comes up, you won’t. Have you heard that from any of your colleagues / partners recently? I wonder how much of „I’ll do my best“ actually translates into „It’s done“.

Replace with: „I’ll get it done and I’ll do it the best way I can.“

I have to – there’s really little things we „have to do“. Most of the things we chose to do, i.e. we want to do them. Either directly, or as a follow-up choice on a previous one. „I have to“ puts us into passive mode: „It’s not my choice, it was chosen for me.“ Watch out!

Replace with: „I want to. I chose to.“

I wish I could, but – well, this is old news: YOU CAN. It will take time, effort and pain to do, but you can. It’s just like with „I have to“ – the sentence after „I wish I could, but…“ is an excuse, by which we vindicate our inaction and try to make ourselves feel better by showing some effort (I wish).

Replace with: „I chose to do other things, which matter to me.“ or „I won’t do it now, because I have some skill to acquire. Then I’ll do it.“ or „I am afraid to do it.“

I can do it tomorrow as well – yes, you can. But too many times it means you can do it today as well, but you are just pushing it off.

Replace with: „I could do it tomorrow, but I will do it today. I will not procrastinate!“

Wary of the words which you use, because they form your thinking just as your thinking forms the words. And beware of what words you hear from others.

A suggestion: listen more carefully to your speech for next couple of days and find out the phrases that you should be vary of.

What phrases do you watch out in your talk / self-talk?

It Ain’t About How Hard You Hit

Sometimes I wonder why we talk so much about persistance and not giving up. I have made couple of posts about this topic here as well.

I guess we need to consciously remind ourselves that it makes sense to go on when going gets tough.

So as a reminder, a quote from Rocky Balboa, which I already used in the poem Fall and rise (you can watch the clip here):

But it ain’t about how hard you hit;
it’s about how hard you can get hit,
and keep moving forward. .
It’s how much you can take,
and keep moving forward.
That’s how winning is done.

We are tempted everyday to quit: „Stop being different. Stop pushing for something „unrealistic“. Stay realistic, keep your head down, join the crowd, accept the majority.“

When you challenge the status quo, everyday is a struggle. Whether it’s change of your habits or change of your company, or changing the world. There will always be push-back. And doubts. And prophets envisioning your fail. And those I-TOLD-YOU-SOs, when you stumble.

Persisting when punches land down on you is what will make you succeed. No matter how hard you will hit, there will almost always be a counter-strike. Question is:

Will you get up and go for another round?

 (PS: this post is inspired by Daily Prompt: Silver Screen)

Six Questions To Help You Close The Chapter

Whether it’s the end of the day, end of the week, closing of the month, finishing current job or finish of a life phase; it’s important to close the chapter.

In the beginning of 2013 I wrote about my experience with year-end review. And I also started doing regular weekly and monthly reviews. I consider it important, because this moments offer me the chance to actually learn from the past.

People don’t learn from experience. They learn from reflecting on their experience.

When you revisit and think through what happened, you have the chance to learn and apply the findings in the future. And you can start the next chapter fresh.

Today I was studying some of our company training material on how to debrief the group after situational exercise. I found steps which you could use to guide your closings.

IT’S SIX SIMPLE QUESTIONS:

How do you feel?

An important opening question. It gives the chance to express emotion connected with the experience. It opens you for more factual analysis further on.

What happened?

What are the facts? What did you do? What did others do? No conclusions, just plain facts. Start broad, then go into more details. Stay factual.

What did you learn?

Draw conclusions. What do you learn from particular events and actions? What do they mean?

How does it relate to „actual world“?

This question is specific for training situations. When you debrief your real-life experience, I would just skip it.

What if?

Go and speculate. Question yourself on what would you do differently. What if you would act in another way? To what areas can you transfer the learning?

What next?

Time to follow-up. What will you do in the future? How will you change the behaviour based on your learning? Plan clear actions.

(originally published here)

I hope this will help you close your chapters properly. If you don’t debrief your experiences, start doing so. Give yourself the the chance to learn and start fresh. And let me know, how you’re doing 😉

One hundred and a question for you

This is my one-hundredth post on this blog. So how was the road until now? For me this blog has been a place to pour out my thoughts, ideas, bad and good moments. I have tried to be inspiring.

Now I think it is time for some summary, and then there’s the question for you in the end of the post. Check it out 😉

TOP 5 POSTS (according to views):

13 gifts to myself
Could you run marathon barefoot OR Are running shoes the worst to wear for running?
#Trust30 | Stop being realistic
All it takes is to stop dreaming
Why I have to refuse kisses so many times in Egypt

INTERESTING SERIES TO CHECK:

#Trust30 – posts inspired by writing challenge at ralphwaldoemerson.me
Daily Good Question – questions I was asking myself in the mornings in Egypt.

WHAT I’VE LEARNT:

I used to hunt for stats. I learnt I don’t need that. The more readers the better, but I’ll keep writing even if it’s only me reading.
I used to write in a complicated way. I learnt (and continue) to simplify.
Over the two years that I run this blog I’ve changed the design 3 times. I like change more than I thought.

A QUESTION FOR YOU:

If you are reading regularly or not, I would be glad to know, what would be the 3 words to characterise your experience with this blog until now?

Let The Small Victories Rain

It would be great to have success everyday. Big success. Something noteworthy. Something extraordinary. Something that makes you feel the most awesome.

But this doesn’t happen that often. Big success takes time. It takes effort and perseverance. It takes time.

We need to give ourselves small victories. Win small battles with ourselves, our job, our other duties. Just to get the feeling of winning and keep on going.

Sometimes, when work just doesn’t feel like coming to any good results, what helps me is victory in other fields. I usually go run. It releases the endorphins and it is a victory over myself (though I’ve been running for couple of months, it still is a fight to get out of that door and start).

Or like today morning: Yesterday I had a shit day. No particular reason, just it didn’t feel right, nothing big came in, no particular success that I would be proud of.

So I decided to start today with couple of small victories:

  1. I woke up earlier = victory #1
  2. I exercised = victory #2
  3. I write this post = victory #3

The next thing I’m going to do is to write down 3 top things I want to get done today. After I finish any of them, I’ll take a break and celebrate the victory.

If you’re feeling down and that big success seems to be thousand miles away, grant yourself the small victory. Appreciate it. And keep on going.

Who do you give permission to slap you?

People say we should not look for external approval for our actions. True. Still, we need people people who we let into our „circle of judges“, or rather „board of advisors“, whose opinion about us we value for a reason and who we give the permission to give us those looks and slap us when we screw-up.

It happened to me couple of times in my life – I did something I knew I shouldn’t have done, or should have done differently. But I still did and I quietened the inner voice which told me that.

I needed one of my judges (and advisors) to kind of slap me and tell me

„Hey man! This is wrong and you should know better!“

What is important do t is to know who your board of advisors is and why is that. Why do you let some people have say on what is right or wrong of you?

Some people kind of appoint themselves without your consent to this position. They start giving you advice, play your „big brothers“ and so on. Make sure to let them know, whether they actually have the seat in your BoA or not.

Those who you let in your board have that place for a reason. Remember that once they come and start tapping you on your shoulder and say: „You should think about that and this.“ Make sure not to wave them off.

For me those are people who know my values, who know me to the deep core and who have stood by me in good and bad times. They have had the chance to slap me already couple of times and I will be always grateful to them.

I think I made my point. So I leave you today with one simple question:

Who is your Board of Advisors?

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