Category: Blogging

Daily Blog December – A brain share of learnings from 29 days of blogging (out of 31)!

For a while now, Journaling has become a very useful practice for me. Taking a few minutes each day to write out some of the crazy stuff or thoughts swirling about in my head. When it’s out on paper or on the screen, it definitely helps with calming the mind.

On occasion, when I have thoughts or ideas that I’m keen to better understand, the process of writing these out really helps me formulate a position or create better clarity. It’s a practice (or a process), as a coach, and as someone that’s always keen to learn more, I’d highly recommend.

For 29 out of 31 days in December, I’ve tried to frame up the blog posts similar to my personal daily journal. The big difference is they’re published out for the world (or at least those connected to my world) to read. No pressure so!

Now on New Year’s Eve, to wrap up this month’s challenge, I decided to share this final one in a brain dump journal style covering as much of the learnings and takeaways that stand out from it. Hopefully they make sense and they’re useful. Here goes:

  1. Get super clear on the purpose of whatever it is you’re doing
  • For this daily blog challenge, the purpose was to write a short piece that had a story and a key takeaway.
  • To write more succinctly and do it all in around 25 minutes each day, yet still make it meaningful.
  • To share some learnings and help others through the posts.
  • Some days were better than others for sure but sticking to the purpose helped me follow through on many days.
  1. Planning helps
  • The days when I took 3-5 minutes to plot out some bullet points that gave structure to the post made it easier to get the message across.
  • The days when I just dived right in were much more of a struggle.
  1. The self-doubt goes down but never leaves
  • Definitely the first few days were the worst. “Can I really post this stuff?” was often the question coming up!
  • Just push through and remind yourself of the reason you’re doing it.
  • Each day, when published, the sense of achievement made it worth while.
  1. Feedback & the 90-9-1 rule
  • If you’re not familiar with this social media concept, check it out here
  • As I looked over some of the interaction and views of the content, typically I’d get comments or feedback from around 1% of views.
  • If you’re considering posting and blogging, be aware of this. It helps with the next learning.
  1. Lower expectations
  • Don’t expect to go viral with what you share – not saying you it can’t happen but if you’re setting too high expectations, chances are you’ll lose interest if likes, shares, comments are your main motivations.
  1. Perfection v Good Enough
  • Given the timebound nature of this challenge, perfection was never an option.
  • Getting each post to a ‘good enough’ state and learning from each one daily was a parameter or ground rule set from the start – otherwise I’d probably never have got past day 2.
  1. Popular posts
  • It would appear having a catch title and strong post image helps with engagement (no surprise really).
  • Posts that share ‘How To’s’ seem to also catch attention better.
  • Adding in real stories (everything I shared was personal btw) and emotion also helps to connect.
  1. The temptation to stop was always there
  • Expect resistance when doing anything that puts you in the zone of discomfort
  • For me, this was felt daily.
  • Remembering the ‘why’ helped.
  1. Give yourself permission to take a break
  • While I fought this for many days, when I finally did take a couple of days off, it felt really good.
  • I’ve found over time that taking a break and switching off, for a while, with any endeavour, can give you much needed space that leads to new thinking and ideas.
  1. Just write
  • Many quotes and insights from established authors all point to the writing process being very much about getting the sh1t out before the good stuff comes.
  • This experiment for me was eye opening around this. Back to a previous point, some days were better than others.
  1. Getting it Social Ready
  • I probably spent nearly as much time getting the posts online and shared out on social media as I did with the actual writing.
  • One of the aims with this challenge was to streamline the process better and experiment with different post strategies just to see if it made any difference.

While the focus of this was all about blogging & writing, most of the learnings above could have come from a month practicing presentation skills, listening better, giving feedback, helping out in the community, or just being more physically daily.

Whatever it is you might be considering taking on in the new year, know you’ll gain a whole lot more from it than you expect. That’s the real beauty of committing to these.

It’s been a really worthwhile experience. I’m sure I’m better having done it. Equally though, I’m looking forward to replacing the blogging with a 5km run every day to get the physical fitness levels better for the year ahead.

A sincere thank you for sticking with me during the month. All 29 posts are on the blog page if you want to check them out.

And, finally, if you’re one of the 1% that did get in touch, a special thanks!

Till whenever the next post comes out, happy New Year,

Rob

PS – this one took the longest of all!!! 


 

The framework or model of Emotional Intelligence can be broken down in a few ways and variations have been brought forward over the last 25+ years. To simplify it, the 2 main components are getting to know yourself (intrapersonal) and getting to know others (interpersonal – social & relationships)

Getting to know yourself better involves developing self-awareness and improving how you self-manage. I believe it’s essential to do this work first before you really start to focus more on how you interact with others. You can do both at the same time, however, as the old saying goes, learn to love yourself before you love someone else. While ‘loving’ yourself is maybe a strong word, at least finding ways to get along with yourself helps :)! 

If you’re comfortable in your own skin, the next area for massive personal growth and happiness can come from social interactions. As another truism goes ‘we’re social creatures’ and the more effort we put into social connection, the better we are for it. It’s not always easy though.

As someone who identifies more on the introvert side, it can be very difficult to dive into social settings without feeling anxious, insecure and socially awkward. It’s possible, it just takes a bit of planning.

Over the last 7-8 years, I’ve been involved in a number of volunteer roles with non-profit committees and boards. Initially, I had to force myself to do this. I had to stretch myself outside the comfort zone, not let the overthinking or negative self-talk win, and just put my hand up! The key was to take on some responsibility, something meaningful. At least then I knew I’d have a focus and a purpose. Just having a defined role and something I could add value with, in a deliberate way, made all the difference.

Once I ‘owned’ something, my levels of self-doubt dropped, and I could connect better with others. I figured this out through the self-awareness work done earlier. That allowed me to be more planful and self-manage better.

All through this month, as I was writing the daily pieces, this idea of being a giver more than a taker has kept coming up for me. As I reflected on my own volunteering work, the value and return on investment I’ve gained through giving something back, by just giving up your time, has been huge. I’ve got the opportunity to develop certain skills I really wanted to improve, and, at the same time, I’ve helped move the groups forward. A real win-win scenario.

One of my big goals for 2020 (and beyond) is to continue to give back more. In different areas that I’ve done so far. Being deliberate, instead of random, about exactly what to give and who to contribute to is totally fine too. For some of us, having the plan is essential for it to happen.

Is this something you’ve thought about as a 2020 commitment? There are so many great groups and organizations out there that could do with your time and expertise. And you will grow and learn from the experience more than you think! Through the social interaction alone, you’re developing your emotional intelligence, and this is some of the greatest currency you can have in the years to come.

That’s the second last of the daily December blogs. I hope you found these useful. Tomorrow, I’ll do little lessons learned post and see what comes out of that.

Till then,

Rob


If you’re interested in joining the ROTG 1% Better Slack Community where we hold monthly challenges, and support each other through them, sign up here! It’s free and aimed at helping you improve.

Monthly Challenges? Sounds like hard work to me!

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” – Tim Notke.

A few years ago, while doing some personal values work, I found this quote very impactful. Hard work for me has always been something I felt I had to do to achieve anything. I wasn’t ‘gifted’ with great talent in any area in particular. Especially at school.

However, once I started to work harder, study more, and put the effort in, better results started to come. This was a lesson I learned around the age of 13. A very valuable lesson that set me up for my version of success over the coming years, mostly.

This value, or some might call it ‘work ethic’ was called into play more than ever in recent times. Juggling the day, family life, the podcast & content creation, and whatever else comes my way has been challenging. Without the hard work core value, I’d probably have dropped the ball a lot more.

While wanting to maintain all the priorities each day, I wanted to ensure there was still room for personal and professional growth and development. And during the executive coaching diploma work, the idea of taking on 21-day challenges with another colleagues was piloted. For me, it worked great. I recall picking reading 30 minutes every day as my first challenge. Getting up that half hour earlier to read from the course reading list. There is something powerful in this I remember thinking.

Soon after that, I decided to do these every month, starting in January 2017. My first one was a Dry January.  My first blog post on the site talked about this back in February 2017. During 2017, some monthly challenges went great and some didn’t happen at all. 2018 was an improvement on 2017. A January 5km every day the highlight. But, by god, it was hard work!

Then this year, 2019, I noticed a change. While the actual commitment to challenges were still very tough (No Coffee November a standout one), deciding on one and setting it as a goal has become much more of a habit. It’s now just something I look forward to doing each month. Picking the challenge, thinking about how it can positively impact me (or others around me), and making the commitment.

Halfway through this year, without too much preplanning, I set up a RoboftheGreen/1% Better group/community on the Slack collaboration platform. Thinking back to the 21-day challenge in coaching class, sharing your challenge and having others help, support, and hold you to account, made a big difference for some, especially as some days were more tough than others.

Since then, others have started to make a commitment (to themselves and others) to monthly challenges. And check-in regularly on their progress. There are no rules, no expectations, just a growing group of likeminded people keen to overcome the resistance of the voice inside your head. The one telling you the many reasons taking a monthly challenge on is crazy. Sounds too much like hard work, right?

As it’s the end of one year and the start of another, us humans tend to set new year’s resolutions. Many that are too big to take on alone. Ones that require a lot of will power and support.

If this sounds like you, just remember that nothing hard comes easy. Go into your resolutions or goals with eyes wide open. Make it something you WANT to or GET to do, instead of HAVE to. And if you need some free support and some accountability buddies to give you that push, you’re welcome to connect in with the group we set up here.

Setting the goal is the easy part. Implementing it is the hard bit. It will take hard work. And we can help you with that.

Call To Action – Sign up to the group now or anytime and start committing to and achieving your goals link here.

Till tomorrow,

Rob

Have you ever reflected on something bad that’s happened to you and found some positives from it? Earlier this year I put together a piece on some of the surprising ways Type 1 Diabetes has made me Better and it was published on a diabetes focused site called Thriveabetes. So I thought it would be worth sharing out here. Now don’t get me wrong, managing type 1 diabetes is not easy, however having it, and knowing there is no cure (yet) means you have to take control and face it head on. Here’s what I wrote. Hopefully it might get you thinking about something in your life that’s had some hidden benefits.

My grandfather used to say, “your health is your wealth” and like most of these common sayings, there is a lot of truth in them. However, like most twenty or thirty somethings, I took being healthy for granted. I might hear of others getting sick or being diagnosed with this or that. But never thought that it would happen to me.

When I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2012, it all of a sudden became very clear that the wealth I was chasing, financially, at work, and in all those other material pursuits were in fact not the real wealth at all.  My real wealth, my health, now was at risk! It took this diagnosis, this wake-up call, to bring it firmly into focus.

Denial

At first, I was in denial. Surely there must have been a mistake? Then, I convinced myself I could find a cure. But after a few months, I started to realise that the only way forward was to embrace it: Talk about it and, if possible, start looking for the upsides, or positives, in my broken pancreas syndrome.

Now, 7+ years into my own Type 1 Diabetic journey, my life is a whole lot better than it was back then. The diagnosis marked a very real turning point in my life. A catalyst for real positive change. I’ve been reflecting on this for a while so this piece is a great excuse to get what the benefits have been. And as I put this piece together, I took to twitter to ask if others with Type 1 Diabetes can relate or if I was just crazy. The response was (and continues to be) huge. Benefits like improved patience, greater empathy, better planning, increased compassion, more responsibility, project management skills, and connecting with other like-minded & like-pancreas people are just some of the other benefits that came back. Here are the key ones I’ve notice.

  1. Developing a Better more Positive Mindset

Nobody wants to get Type 1 Diabetes and, of course, I’d prefer not to have it at all. It’s not fair, but it could be worse! I consider myself lucky in lots of ways. We live in a time when the disease was (and is) more manageable then ever. Technology breakthroughs have advanced management and control drastically and with more exciting advances on the horizon. Getting the disease gave me a bit of a wake-up call. I’m not immortal after all but I can still lead a full life. That’s a positive. It’s made me realise much more what I have and look for the positives. This mindset takes practice but if you look for the bright spots, you’ll find them.

  1. A Better Whole Life Grid

Diabetes was a big factor in making me step back and create a better life balance. In the coaching work I do, I like to use a tool called the ‘whole life grid’ (check out more on it here). I would have struggled to populate half of this in 2012. I prioritized work over everything else, yet it wasn’t making me happy. I was pushing hard, close to burn-out but I didn’t have a clear understand of who I was and what I valued. Getting diagnosed was a point on my timeline where things started to turn. It made me re-evaluate and look at other areas of my life that were suffering and needed to be addressed. Since then, I’ve made a much more conscious effort to have a focus on the 9 boxes that make up my whole life and it’s turned out great.

  1. My fitness is better

Exercise and keeping fit were always on my radar. I had started running long distances about year before the diabetes blessing but after coming to terms with the news, I realised now that keeping fit and healthy were no longer optional. It became a must do! Since then, I’ve completed 3 Marathons, many adventures races, and learned to swim properly (at last). I get to exercise 4-5 per week. When the only real choice is to exercise on a regular basis, my inner gremlin voice doesn’t get much of a look in either.

  1. My values & sense of purpose is better!

Having Type 1 Diabetes motivated me to get a better and clearer sense of purpose. It forced me question what I stood for more and to challenge my own limiting beliefs. In 2015, through some professional development, I worked with an executive coach. This was a transformative experience. The work encouraged me to understand my ‘why’ better, clarify my values, and helped in identifying my identity and purpose. It also gave me a greater sense of self-confidence and self-acceptance. It further helped me realise that diabetes was something I should embrace.

  1. My Dry18 (and Dry19) journey

I’ve always (from the age of 18 of course) been fond of a few drinks. Thankfully, I had the vast majority of craziness out of my system by 2012. When I was diagnosed it didn’t impact my social life too much. I still gave the nights out a good go over the following few years. However, the downside of the day(s) after began to far outweigh the upside. Add in the challenges of managing blood sugars on a night out, and the day after, made drinking less and less appealing as time went by. So, I decided to make that ‘I’m never drinking again’ statement a reality and since 1st January 2018, I’ve stopped drinking completely. It began as year-long challenge with a good friend. This became a two-year-long abstinence. Having Diabetes, while not the main reason, was a contributing factor in helping me achieve this goal. (I tracked the Dry18 journey in a series of posts that I shared out in an eBook – it’s free here).

My 1% Better Podcast Idea

Getting diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes set off a chain of events that have put me on a different path since 2012.

Having a more positive outlook helped me take on new challenges. This led to an increase in exercise. As I exercised more, I started to listen to more podcasts. I was hooked. I learned so much, all helping feed my curiosity. In parallel, after embarking on the coaching journey, initially as a client and them becoming an executive coach myself, my confidence and self-belief grew. I started to play with the idea of starting my own podcast, instead of just consuming them. It was a big audacious goal. One that scared the hell out of me but one that I felt I might be able to pull off.

So in early 2017, after months of planning and despite being wracked with self-doubt, I launched the RoboftheGreen platform and with it the podcast ‘1% Better’.  Now, 140+ episodes later, still dealing with and pushing through the fears on a weekly basis, the podcast is growing bigger and better. It’s given me a platform to share stories, lessons learned and insights from a broad range of leaders across the globe. And also it’s been an channel where I could share interviews with other Type 1 Diabetics like Eoghan Quinn and Emma O’Toole. Both clearly show that Type 1 Diabetes can be an enabler instead of a disabler.

If I wasn’t podcasting, I wouldn’t have connected in with Thriveabetes. It was that connection that lead to this post. I’m really glad it happened as it’s helped me clarify a few things that were rolling around in my head. There can be a lot of positives to be taken out of almost any situation that might seem negative or bad initially. It will probably take work, effort, soul searching, but if you challenge yourself to look at things from a different perspective, I believe you’ll find a positive or two.

So, as it’s nearly the end of 2019, and a time for some reflection, what one thing could you identify that is your Type 1 Diabetes? That’s had some upsides from the initial downs?

Thanks for reading & till tomorrow,

Rob

Rob is a qualified Executive Coach (ICF) and has been Mentoring and Coaching over the last decade in various roles held during his career. In 2017, Rob launched the Rob of the Green Platform which hosts the 1% Better Podcast. Rob currently is a director of Project Management and Leadership Coaching at Dell in Cork, Ireland. Rob also publishes articles on productivity, leadership, goal setting, meditation, and other topics, like this one! Rob recently published an eBook on giving up alcohol for 2018 called ‘Dry18’ and can be downloaded for free here.

Connect in with Rob on the socials or via email on the links below:

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Subscribe to the Rob of the Green Newsletter Here

Listen to my own advice!

Folks,

One of the personal goals I set for myself when starting out the daily blog in December was to practice writing less yet saying more! Today is probably the best version of it so far!

If you’re like me, you can give out advice and some guidance, however sometimes you’re the least likely to take on board what you’re saying to others.  So with some self-coaching, I’m going to listen to myself for the next few days and make time for rest and switching off.

Switching Off is absolutely an essential part of self-improvement, leadership, and life. And in many ways, it’s a habit and practice that you need to work on as much as any other skill you are keen to develop. Start today!

Thank you for reading the blog posts daily over the month so far. I do plan to get a few more out before the start of 2020.

For now, though, it’s time to rest!

What’s the one piece of advice you give that you should take yourself? 

Happy Christmas to you & yours!

Till tomorrow (or later in the week),

Rob

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