Category: GoalSetting

Leave a Reply

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

Books that made me Better 2019 – Part 2 – Day 23

What a great response to part 1 of this last Friday. Books really do have such an impact on people. So, I’m delighted to share this part 2 in both blog & podcast form today.

This blog just touches briefly on 5 books I read this year that had (and continue to have) a positive impact on me. And I’ll briefly outline why. The podcast episode goes a little deeper as I read an extract from each of the books. I hope you’ll enjoy both/either. All of the books will be linked to here or on my site.

So, taking up where we left off, here are the final 5 that make up the list. Let’s dive straight into them.

  1. Shoe Dog – Phil Knight (link to book on Amazon here)

This is actually the only biography in the top 10 this year. Well the next one is a practical biography I guess but this fact tells you something about my reading preferences perhaps.

Phil Knight is the founder of Nike. And this book tracks his journey from the very start in 1962 right up to the early 1990s.

In truth this book is more than a autobiography. It’s content can help you learn so much about running a business, the challenges faced every day, hiring the best people, trust, relationships, and so much more. He combined his passion for running with business and tells this story year by year in the book

  1. Bounce – Matthew Syed (link to book on Amazon here)

When it comes to talent and mastery, the then thousand-hour rule is something that has been talked about for a while and covered in a few many books and articles.

In this book, released a few years ago, Syed provides a mountain a lot of evidence to back up the hypothesis. He himself made it to the Olympics representing Great Britain at Table Tennis and is living proof that hard work can get you to the top.

It’s more than just hard work. There are a number of factors that need to be considered when putting in the 3 hours per day for 10 years, but it’s very possible.

As I have very high hopes for my 1 year old son, this book has given me a lot to think about. Jake – no pressure at all! 

I’m looking forward to reading more of Matthew’s work in 2020.

  1. The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg (link here)

I mentioned in part 1 that the top 10 list is not really ordered in best to least good! However, I did indicate the paradox of choice would in the top 3. Another one that makes the top 3 is this masterpiece on habits from Charles Duhigg.

This book kept popping up over last couple of years and having a fascination around habits, I was keen to dive into it. It didn’t disappoint.

The story telling combined with science and experimental truths make this one a compelling read and one I took a crazy amount of notes and learnings from that I have been using in my own coaching work and daily habit analysis and formation.

It, like many of the ones on this list, help me understand the why and how of every day life that bit better.

  1. The little book of Ikigai – Ken Mogi (link here)

This is one of the most recent books I read so might be a benefactor of a recency bias.  

Through my own coaching journey, finding my purpose, values and knowing myself better has made life and how I live it so much more fulfilling. In many ways the message of ikigai and the pillars covered in detail in the book through stories made me realise I was finding my own ikigai through a different approach but very similar outcomes.

It’s a nice read and worth checking out. One that might hold some real value for you if you’re struggling with the existential question of ‘Who am I?’. A guest on the podcast recently, James Mofatt (link to episode here) found ikigai at a time when he needed it most. Worth a listen for sure.

  1. Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg (link here)

The only author with 2 in the top 10 so you could say it’s been a big year for Duhigg’s work (I don’t know the guy btw but would very much like to have him on the podcast).

To end with a book with the word ‘better’ in the title was not planned but now seems apt as the theme running through all of these is to improve.

Smarter Faster Better, while maybe not as impactful as ‘habits’, is still full of insights around how to be more productive, smarter with your time, maintain motivation and be efficient and effective.

Duhigg got the idea for this book as he was finishing up the power of habits. He was inspired by a colleague at The New York Times who was also a surgeon and seemed to have endless time to get stuff done. Duhigg was motivated to understand and share the secret sauce of being productive as a result.

Some great ideas in this and puts labels on many things you might already do – one personal favourite is disfluency which I talk about in the podcast version.

So that’s it. 10 great reads from reading in 2019.

I hope this is useful. It’s meant to be. To provide you with some potential reading for 2020 if not already covered.

Thanks for read & listening.

Do get in touch if you have one book you feel I MUST read in 2020. I plan to buy a few over the holidays and dive in!

Till tomorrow,

Rob


Sign up for the January Challenge on the 1% Better Slack Group – it’s free – click here


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!

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

Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website

Subscribe to the Rob of the Green Newsletter Here

What’s your approach to delivering feedback?

Is it the straight up right between the eyes approach? Or do you go with the ‘feedback sandwich’ with the constructive/bad news stuck in the middle either side of some positives? Or maybe it’s something different?

Studies show that a team’s excellence and individuals performance rests very much its ability to give and receive very high-quality feedback, constantly. But so very often, the feedback fails to have an impact or provide actionable steps to move forward. Why is this the case?

It all comes down to the mindset of the person giving the feedback.

In most cases, the person giving the feedback feels like they have to solve a problem that the receiver has. They have gathered information from a few sources and are now relaying this in an effort to provide a solution. This is one of the major flaws with feedback. In truth, you only have half the story.

The human brain has an enormous capacity not only to not see the whole picture but also to not notice that it hasn’t seen the whole picture. Daniel Kahneman, the famous psychologist, calls this the “what you see is all there is” phenomenon. Where we all race into problem solving mode with only the data on front of you. Sound familiar?

This is just one example of many on feedback. The feedback givers mindset, for whatever reason, typically is one of telling and solving. How to make this better? Bring a learning mindset to feedback.

If you’re holding half the story, why not ask the receiver to share their knowledge. Give them the opportunity to talk about the situations raised in an open non-judgemental way. This is the first step to getting to the real truth. You’re opening up a learning environment.

Next, practice listening to what they have to say (using active and/or empathic approaches – see post day 19 here). People enjoy being listened to and it builds trust.

Finally, make this feedback session a conversation. A two-way street. So that the receiver really feels like they’ve added their inputs to the session and their voice is valued. By doing so and giving them the opportunity to create their own actions & next steps, the chances of improvement increase exponentially.

To reference Daniel Kahneman again, our brains are predominately lazy. In an effort to save energy, we look for the easy way out most of the time. This can be very true when giving feedback. You accept the information you gathered as truth instead of using it as half the reality. If even that much!

While giving powerful feedback takes effort, the good news is that it’s a skill and it can be developed. It’s something you can work on with practice. And with end of year performance reviews coming up for many organizations, what better opportunity to put this into practice than now! 

Remember though, feedback should not be just for Christmas/End of Year Reviews! It’s an all year-round activity. The gift that keeps on giving!

Till tomorrow,

Rob


PS – thanks to those of you kind enough to connect in and provide feedback to me on the blogging over the last few weeks and the podcast work. I love getting it and always try to learn from it.


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!

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

Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website

Subscribe to the Rob of the Green Newsletter Here

Scroll to top