Tag: Learning

Self-Improvement Year Zero – Post by Michael Hanafin

Self-Improvement Year Zero

One person’s journey into the world of self-development through podcasts, reading and most of all doing.

My journey began 12 months ago so this seems an auspicious time to reflect.   I hope something here will resonate if you are starting on this path or already well on the way.

A change of job prompted me to begin. Before then, I allowed my employer’s training catalogue plus opportunities to learn from global colleagues cater to my self-improvement needs. Moving to a much smaller company (where opportunities to both add value and learn from others were more limited than I expected),  I took ownership of my own personal and professional development.  

You don’t need to wait for a life change like a new job or a calendar milestone – you are free to decide that today will be the day I make one small step.

The Process

To start I adopted one habit then built on that a step at a time. That habit and the follow-ons are described later but first I outline the framework I used.

I decided I needed 3 things:

  1. Structure
  2. Schedule
  3. Direction

Structure

I narrowed it down to 4 themes or ‘Pillars’ to focus on and planned possible activities and tasks for each:

  • Self
  • Health
  • Other (i.e. Family/Relationships)
  • Work

This allowed me to aim for balance in allocating time to each. By putting them in list format, I had a simple visual indicator of whether I was tending more towards some areas rather than others (which is not a bad thing – not all may need equal attention).  In the cases where something mapped to more than one pillar, I picked the pillar it felt more at home in.

Activities and tasks could be either tangible (exercise, cook something, do something at work or outside, journal keeping), online (research, blogs, podcasts) or reading books.

I found a “trialling” mindset to be valuable at this stage.  If I adopted a new habit I tested it for 4 to 6 weeks after which I would either jettison it, modify it or keep it.

I did try a further categorisation of each item into “Read” “Test” “Review” “Do” (inspired by Deming’s Plan Do Check Act cycle) but quickly felt this was too much, I was overthinking and over-complicating (nothing new there!).

Schedule

I time-boxed 3 hours every 2nd Sunday and for the first 3 months while planning, researching and shaping what I was going to do and how to do it, I did these sessions in my local coffee shop. As I got into the thick of it and out of the initial planning mode, I retired instead to my spare room but the name I first gave this quality time has stuck for me – even now I often refer to this time as a “Starbucks Session”.

Direction

To determine my direction, I first needed to define my values.  As a complement to my values list, I also developed a personal mission statement.  Finally, to guide how I implement my decisions and choices, I figured a set of principles would be useful.

I derived my values by narrowing down from two sets of lists found online.  The 1% Better blog post on this topic was helpful.  I ended up with 5 and in their current incarnation, they are:

  • Making a Difference
  • Mindset
  • Credibility
  • Inner Harmony
  • Vision

My mission statement is currently:

  • Maintain a conscious balance of Family, Health, Work
  • Keep Faith and broader spirituality an intrinsic part of life
  • Add real value and make a difference in my day job
  • As much as possible, operate in a mindful flow state with clarity
  • Be in control of finances, providing for present and future needs

My principles remain in draft format at the time of writing. I will write these to enable me to fulfil my mission statement and adhere to my values.

My notes on what that list might look like are as follows:

  • Practice Meditation
  • Balance self, family, work and health
  • Always ask What matters most?
  • What would <name of inspirational role model> do?
  • Engage with what I do with attention, compassion and non-judgment
  • Practice gratitude
  • Continue spiritual path
  • Don’t force it – take purposeful pauses as required, embrace ambiguity and unknowing, non-attachment to results
  • See the opportunity that is my life in 10 years (think of this from Seth Godin)
  • Respond, not react
  • Act like the person I would like to have reporting to me, be married to, have as a father

You will notice that values, mission statement and principles become more verbose and descriptive.  There should be some natural overlap between them also.

 A word here on goals. We are often encouraged to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound).  I also discovered value in having longer-term goals that are not entirely SMART.  This type of goal may be impossible to completely define at this stage and may demand some blue-sky thinking.  At a minimum, your goals should be ART (trusting the SM to come in time) and remember that for visionary goals you need to be open-minded on what is Achievable.  Don’t be afraid to have a stretch target that you cannot quite see how to reach yet. 

 The Starting Point

I had failed to establish a meditation practice on two previous occasions.  The first was before the advent of apps, the latter following a recommendation on a course I did at work.

Now, I looked again at meditation and saw that it could be the launching pad for everything I was trying to achieve (even though I did not know precisely what this was yet!).  The promise of having the mental space to better consider the impact of what I choose to do, how I think and how I make decisions was very appealing. 

I reasoned that the worst that could happen was that I would gain some valuable “me time” every day.  What I discovered was that, contrary to my expectations, my daily practice began to bear fruit after only a couple of weeks. It was the tip of the tip of the iceberg but rewarding enough to persevere with a guided meditation practice.

The Next Steps

Adopting one positive habit has a domino effect – you will find yourself wanting to add another once you establish that first one.

I saw the seeds of my next habit in the improvement opportunity of my first.  A lot of the self-improvement texts talk about the merits of a morning routine.  I saw that this would ensure I do my meditation at an optimal time plus give me a window to add something else.

Over time I started to rise earlier and earlier, setting the alarm for 6 a.m. and eventually getting it back to 5 a.m. (well, 5.05 to be accurate).  The next addition was diet-related, dusting off the blender to make a healthy early morning smoothie. I stuck with the same recipe daily, finding that doing the same over and over again helped break down any mental resistance – I did not need to think about what to buy or how to make it, just do it.

It’s at this stage that a significant step change occurred. I had a meditation practice and a morning routine.  I had also started journaling – using the Bullet Journal method – allowing me to reflect, to plan future activities and to record any inspirational quotes or writings I noticed.    Exercise was missing.   I found the “Couch to 5k” protocol and started following that 3 times/week.  I found it well-paced and being time-based rather than distance-based meant I could slow down if necessary. Like meditation, running had failed to stick on previous attempts but now became ingrained.

Conclusion

I struggle to say which activity has had the most impact – meditation or exercise.  There are mental health benefits to exercise along with the feeling of reward when running towards a glowing sunset on a Friday evening at the start of a weekend.  I endorse the use of positive language here – exercise is something you get to do (i.e. a reward or benefit), not something you have to do.

Meditation has given me a toolkit to manage life’s opportunities and issues, a toolkit that will grow over time. I see it as a foundational practice for me now.

Throughout all this (meditation, morning routine, exercise, Sunday morning reading/reflection sessions) I found the encouragement and learnings from podcasts invaluable. I built up a stable of regulars to which I return, including of course 1% Better.  Joining a community like the ROTG Slack community with its monthly challenges and supportive membership has also been a great help to maintain a “What else can I do?” mindset.

Progress has not been perfect – meditation has not been daily, I replaced the smoothie with overnight oats (which did not stick, no pun intended) and family life means my bi-weekly time blocking does not always happen.  On the plus side, I now know I have a mindset that is fixed on this course, flexible to adapt to circumstances and recognising of the rewards it can bring. 

When progress is slow, I remind myself of what I have done and  that it is an ongoing way of life with natural ebbs and flows (and not a short-term project). 

Here’s to the next 12 months.


About The Author

Mike Hanafin works as a technology project manager, with grey hair gathered in both the software and life sciences industries.  When not asking checking questions like “What value am I bringing to my role?”, Mike is finding joy in his ongoing self-improvement  mission (whose ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy work-life balance by dissolving the work-life distinction) and inching out of his introvert comfort zone (which has mood lighting and a copious supply of fiction and jazz).   Always wanting to write but never getting to it, Mike is making an early/late New Year’s Resolution to share more of what he has learned (and has yet to learn).

Photos by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash and Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash


If you’re interested in having being a guest post on the blog page or submitting some learnings for a community focused podcast episode, get in touch directly with me – [email protected] or sign up to the growing 1% Better community on Slack – Link to this here


 

How Do You (To) Do?

How Do You (To) Do?

The humble to-do list – On the merits of keeping it simple

Like them or tolerate them, we all need to consider what task tracking system works best for us – from the classic paper-based “To Do” list right up to using the latest collaborative technology (Trello anyone?) or structured methodologies (Dave Allen’s GTD system is a long-standing servant for many).

As a coder and carefree youth who has evolved into a project manager and a, well, more responsibility-laden adult, I have experimented with multiple variations on the classic to-do list – varying frequency of look ahead & update (daily/weekly) , prioritising tasks (or not), time boxing tasks (or not), paper-based or electronic, online or offline and so on – I have found most variations and levels of complexity served their purpose to some degree at some point in time.

Although not seeking perfection, I have never settled on one that I could say I was truly happy with. Until now.

The following simple system (I hope you agree)  has been working very well for me for some time now.  Do let me know if there is something of value for you here too.

Its’ virtues are ease of use, flexibility and clarity.

Figure 1 – Example To Do List @ Start of Day (Monday)

 Features

1 – Paper-Based. One A5 sheet (A4 folded in half does the trick). In my case, this is a loose sheet which I slip into my work notebook but it could be a page in the notebook itself or a dedicated book.

2 – Time Span of 2 days – today and tomorrow (or next working day).  Day goes on the horizontal axis on top. Categories go on the left-hand vertical axis.

In this example, categories are specific work projects (CUST1 and CUST2), Self-development and Admin.  The categories are repeated line by line because I find it a good visual indicator of the number of tasks per category (for me, the specific quantity matters less than a sense of their proportionality).

3 – Comprehensive – You will see there is a mix of the personal and professional, I find that this helps plan my day better by foreseeing all upcoming activities and actions and gives me a feeling (illusion?) of control of the personal on very busy professional days (and vice versa). If I have a 10-minute personal task I am more likely to carve out time to do it on a very busy day at work if it is on the list.

4 – Simple Notation – tasks that get done are crossed out, tasks that are partially done get a dot ⚫ after them and tasks that do not get done today get a > after them, get crossed out and are moved to the next working day (by writing them again in that column).

This notation is based on Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal method and I find the use of the > is a key differentiator from the traditional list.  You won’t feel the same sense of failure you may feel if a task on a classic to-do list is not done  by crossing out and adding a > as this is just rescheduling for tomorrow – it’s still on your radar and still on your plan and hence still in your control – you simply did not get to it today.

5 – Prioritization – Tasks are prioritized when they are a ‘Must’ or a ‘Should’ today. I use a different colour here for clarity and I will often prioritise for the day twice – first thing and again after lunch.

6 – The Tomorrow Column – for me, this is often empty or almost empty until the next day. If I have a task that I strongly suspect I will not get to today I will still put it in today’s column. If I get to it it’s a win, if not I simply re-schedule (see above). Only if I know a task cannot possibly start until tomorrow do I put it in tomorrow’s list today. 

Note that I put all future tasks in the Tomorrow column and just re-schedule each day. If it is really in the future (e.g. next month) I will just put it in my Calendar instead.  While not particularly efficient (compared to e.g. a 3rd column for ‘Future’), the benefit is that it tells me something about the task – if it is too much trouble to write it out every day or if I find myself constantly rescheduling then it may not be worth doing or can be relegated to my calendar for future consideration.

7 – Review – I ensure today’s column is reviewed (or close to) last thing daily with all entries crossed out because they are either (a) complete (b) rescheduled to tomorrow or (c) no longer relevant.

I update the task list in tomorrow’s column either last thing today or first thing tomorrow or both.

Figure 2 To Do List – End of Day (Monday)

That’s all there is to it. With any system it needs to be simple enough to not be daunting to use and it needs to become a habit so I have tried to ensure it lives up to the acronym K.I.S.S.

Evolution

There are inefficiencies here (like the one mentioned in point 6 above) that I believe are features. Even the very act of using a pen and paper as we enter the 3rd decade of the 21st century has merits – I would add my voice to that of the dedicated journallers who extol the merits of writing versus typing to aid memory and meaning.  Having said that, this method has evolved over time and may by no means done evolving. I refuse to believe it’s as good as can be.

I would love your ideas to refine and improve this along with any other feedback or thoughts you have on the method. 

My most recent refinement was the addition of  personal ‘to dos’ to what had previously been a work-only system.

Thanks for reading and happy crossing-off ! 

 

Next Time

One person’s story of trying to get 1%+ Better – the growing pains of the first 12 months of conscious self-development, avoiding overwhelm, finding time, listening to podcasts while still getting stuff done.


About The Author

Mike Hanafin works as a technology project manager, with grey hair gathered in both the software and life sciences industries.  When not asking checking questions like “What value am I bringing to my role?”, Mike is finding joy in his ongoing self-improvement  mission (whose ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy work-life balance by dissolving the work-life distinction) and inching out of his introvert comfort zone (which has mood lighting and a copious supply of fiction and jazz).   Always wanting to write but never getting to it, Mike is making an early/late New Year’s Resolution to share more of what he has learned (and has yet to learn).

Featured image – Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash


If you’re interested in having being a guest post on the blog page or submitting some learnings for a community focused podcast episode, get in touch directly with me – [email protected] or sign up to the growing 1% Better community on Slack – Link to this here


 

On 16th November 2017, I celebrated by 40th Birthday. In the weeks and months leading up to this, I experienced some dread! Not what you might expect though. I actually didn’t mind too much about the age thing. Something that many people make out as a move into middle age. In many ways, I was looking forward to the milestone age. I was in the best place I had ever been. Mentally, Emotionally, and not too far off physically.

What was my greatest cause for anxiety was the potential blow-out it would bring. The two nights (at least) on the booze. Even though I was fully responsible to keep the partying under control, I knew that it was going to be difficult to just have a few and take it easy.

Looking at back at other big milestone birthday’s I’ve had, they’ve always been big sessions. My 18thin Dublin was a total blow out. My 21st, I seem to remember lasted a few days. My 25th, something similar. And my 30thwas all set to be another big session, but with the passing of my grandmother on the weekend of it, that was shelved, or postponed for a few weeks at least. It’s safe to say, birthday’s and booze were synonymous in my past.

I didn’t want the occasion to pass without a gathering, and it was a good excuse to persuade some of the close friends and family from home to come to Cork to celebrate with friends I’ve made in the previous 9 years. That was my overriding reason to go ahead with it. I kept telling myself, I’d take it relatively easy, but knew deep down that would be hard. The internal battle had started.

The Birthday weekend started off on the Thursday (the actual day of my birthday) where my Aunt, Uncle-in-law and I met up in Dublin to go to the Killers concert. While this started off very civilized, with a nice meal and some wine, it quickly escalated to JD & Coke and whatever else we could drink during the concert. The excitement was too much for me and the bouncers in the gig agreed. After a few attempts to calm me down, they asked me to leave. I obliged of course but the separation from the family resulted in a messy end to the night. Both of us arriving back to the hotel separately. A great start to the weekend, eh!

The next day, I woke feeling ‘ok’ but a strong sense of gloom lingered for the day. I knew I had a long day ahead too so that didn’t help. Oh, and with Saturday and Sunday also to come, I was feeling a bit edgy. ‘I should be enjoying this’ I thought. Something had to give. But when & how!

Having successfully navigated the drive home, via Longford to meet the rest of the Family, I was pretty wrecked come bed time that night. Honestly, all I wanted to do was chill out for the rest of the weekend. But plans were made, and I couldn’t let everyone else done.

One of my best friends from home (Longford), who was now living in Wales, flew over for the weekend. It was Michael’s Birthday the following week (7 days later exactly) and we had arranged to have a 40thcelebration in both Cork and Cardiff. So, with Mike in Cork on Saturday, we met up early to have some ‘brunch’. Now, you might guess that brunch was code for a sambo and some pints. I remember walking into town that morning. Feeling ok and looking forward to the day ahead. Catching up and having a laugh. While that was my plan, my inner chatterbox was having none of it. That voice was pushing for more than just a few!  We had a few beers in town then got some to bring back to my house where we could relax for a few hours. As others arrived down from Home, the atmosphere built up over the course of the day. Naturally, I was delighted to see so many good friends come down and was in flying form as the evening rolled around. At this point, all was going well.

When we did make our way into the venue where the party was held, I was feeling good but knew I had to keep myself together. As a type 1 diabetic, diagnosed in mid30’s, I always had to keep myself in check from a blood sugar perspective. The diabetes was a big wake up call and turning point for me when I got diagnosed in 2012. It definitely came at a time when I was beginning to figure out myself more. It actually helped accelerate that. Anyway, this night, while I did my best to keep things in check, there is no doubt that I was acting like a normal person for the evening. With Champagne popping, and the drink flowing, I was beginning to let loose.

As the Party moved from the pub to the nightclub, the levels of excitement increased. Anyone that knows me, down the years, are aware of my unique ability to convince myself that I was (and am) a cross between John Travolta in Saturday night fever, a Russian Army Cossack Dancer and A Professional break-dancer when I had a large amount of alcohol consumed and with some classic 80s music blaring. This was the case again the night. And after numerous attempts from the bouncers in the club to persuade me to refrain from spinning around in perfect (or so they felt) 360s in the middle of the floor, one spin too many was had. So, they politely asked me to leave AKA escorted me outside. Another night that ended not how I had hoped.

I woke up Sunday morning with a fogginess. Another familiar sense of gloom and anxiety. But this time, a little bit different. I had got through the night. In one piece. And while I didn’t exactly do myself proud, I had a sense of relief that it was over. No question at the time, anyone looking in, would have said I was really enjoying it. And they’d be right. However, inside, I wasn’t dancing. That extrovert me that emerged, as I’ve said in a previous post, was more the chatter box letting lose. The real me was the one that was left to pick up the pieces the next day. For years, I real me had to take that onboard and get through it. That had to stop. And while Alcohol was in the picture, it wouldn’t. It couldn’t. The party had one night left. But one that I didn’t expect to be such a defining moment in my future year, and life.

6 of the group that came down from Longford, two best friends, their partners and my Aunt and Uncle-in-law stayed down for the final fling. They were right to make a proper weekend out of it and I was glad to have them down. We decided to take a more relaxed approach to the day. When we met up around 4pm, we decided to go on a mini-pub crawl of Cork. It was also the evening where the Cork Christmas Lights were officially switched on. Adding something different into the mix. And keeping us out of the pub for a bit.

As we wandered from pub to pub, casually taking on a drink here and there, and including some food, the conversation inevitably turned to just how bad we would feel the next day. How we were all dreading it so much. Talk of the 3+ hour drive back to Longford the next day was already causing anxiety to rise. For me, I was already expecting to wake up every 5 minutes during the night not only seeing, but having full blown conversations with dead people. As you can suspect this was not the first time we had these chats. Anyone listening in would think we were either joking or that we were on a day release from a mental institute. Neither were the case!

Then we got to the classic conversation about ‘giving up the drink!’ How great it would be. But equally how difficult. I had completed Dry January that year. It was tough but very rewarding. Richie then said he heard a guy on the radio a week or so before talking about his 2+ year journey of being ‘drink free’. How difficult it was initially but, after some tough nights, and near misses, he started to enjoy himself on nights out. He had to ‘relearn’ how to enjoy himself. Bit by bit, it got better. He started to find himself. To know himself a bit more. It could be done. The reconditioning was possible.

That’s when it happened.

“Let’s do a year off the drink?” I suggested (or Richie did..that part is foggy too).

We started to tease it out. Firstly, we put an incentive on it. A €500 wager. If one of us broke it, the €500 would go to a charity of our choice. Then it became more real. Others in the group were laughing. Eyes were rolling! It was the drink talking seemed to be the general impression. But I felt something different this time. It felt real. I had said it a thousand times in the past 20+ years, ‘never again’…..and then proceed to drink again within the hour or day. Never again, followed by a laugh. But in this moment, it felt different. Not sure why but, like many other events that happen along your journey, it can be a question of timing.

As we continued on with the night, Richie and I started to formulate the terms a little bit more. When to start? From tomorrow? No…..how about from 1stJanuary? Do it for the full 365 days of 2018? That seemed to fit better. For the rest of the night, with that bet in focus, I felt clearer. Focused. Certain. Committed. This time I was going to do it.

As I write this, it’s 365 days from that discussion. A year on from the handshake and nearly a year on from the complete alcohol cull! I’ve been sharing what I’ve been learning on the journey so far in these posts. So many new perspectives. So much less embarrassment. A lot more self-worth. Improved confidence. Impending Fatherhood. Getting Engaged. Zero escorting from nightclubs. Zero conversations with dead people. Zero attempts at breakdancing. Zero lost jackets.

It’s funny though. When I was more frequently out at the weekend and suffering from a bad Monday or moody Tuesday, I would blame it all on the booze. Not just that. Anyone that knows me, is aware that, on occasion, I can sneeze literally hundreds of times a day when my allergies are on fire. In the past, I would always blame that on my excessive night out at the weekend before. It was the obvious thing to do. Which would result in me giving myself a harder time and feeling worse. Now, I’m happy (not sure that’s the right word) to say I still get the allergies without the beer. I also still get anxious. Feel uncomfortable. Question myself and other insecurities emerge. But I know that’s normal. It’s just part of life. And I can’t now blame it on the beer. Which makes it more acceptable.

I don’t gamble often but this is one bet that I’m glad I wagered. One that I’ve won on every day since. It maybe is the epitome of gambling responsibly. The fun, for the most part had stopped with drinking. And when the fun stops, stop.


Rob is a qualified Executive Coach 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, goal setting, meditation, and other topics. 

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

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Quick stage setting:

My aim with this post (it’s a bit long…stick with it) is to show just how many good things can happen to you, and maybe even others, when you dive into a project that you have a passion for and equally are very scared by the thought of taking on! You could replace ‘podcasting’ here with a million things and I bet some of the benefits below, and many more you never imagine, would follow.

If one person reads this and takes action in 2019 as a result, it’s been a very worthwhile post for me. By putting it together, I’ve learned a lot too. Enjoy! 

I actually started writing this piece back in September as I prepared for a presentation I was lucky enough to give for International Podcast Day, which falls on September 30th each year.

80’s classic

As I reflected back on the podcasting adventure so far, ideas on what to focus the presentation on started to emerge. It was clear the podcasting journey I’ve been on has given me a lot to be grateful for. The lessons and learnings taken from it have helped me develop in ways I never expected. So, I decided to talk about the value adds from my personal perspective.

I grew up in the 80’s and there was a TV show around that time called ‘Tales of the Unexpected’. I always remember the theme tune. It brings back memories of Sunday nights for some reason and that slight dread you might feel with school the next morning. As I was putting together this presentation and was uncovering all these unexpected benefits from podcasting, the title of this show kept coming up for me and so ‘Podcasting Tales of the Unexpected’ was born.

As I started to select the stand out moments and learnings over the last 2 years, it was very interesting to note that many of these benefits have been totally unexpected. The majority of the ones outlined below were not obvious to me from the start. And again, that’s another big takeaway. Taking a leap of faith and going after something you’re passionate about could bring so much more than you expected.

Ok…enough set up, let’s get into the list.

  1. Knowing myself better!

Emotional Intelligence has a few definitions but one is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions; and influence the emotions of others. It’s the one I’m starting with as it’s not only the most important, but one that is broad and connects many of the others to follow.

The field of Emotional Intelligence has been a fascination for me for a number of years. Human performance, improvement, and finding ways to get better are core themes for not only the podcast but also my own personal development as well as the work I do in coaching others.

Right from the very start of the project, up to and including writing this piece, I’ve been finding out more and more about myself. Learning more about my intrapersonal strengths and opportunities as well as interpersonal competencies.

Preparing for interviews, doing research, listening back to episodes, writing articles, creating video content, and many of the other activities and tasks involved to get the show out into the world pulls on so many of the competencies that you need to be more emotionally aware. I’ve put this one first as it’s an overarching benefit with many of the following touching on a part of the overall EQ spectrum.

As you can see from the list of competencies under EQ, these are very much soft skills. At a quick glance, in one way or another, the podcasting experiences I’ve had over the last 2 years have touched on all of the below. Some I’ll explain more further down.

Learning & Advice:

  • I believe developing and growing Emotional Intelligence makes you a more rounded, self-aware, and happy person
  • Taking on a new project or challenge that pushes you to develop some of the competencies below can be of huge benefit to you
  1. Keeping Project Management skills fresh

For most of my working/professional life, I’ve been a project manager in one form or another. This type of role is one that suits me in many ways as it’s one that requires a lot of planning, identifying what your requirements are, what the scope of any work is, what the expected results are and what value that could bring. I can safely say, if it wasn’t for the PM in me  would not have been able to get the Podcasting project off the ground, executed on time, have had the wherewithal to plan out what it would look like, how long it would take to get done, deal with all the issues and risks that cropped up, nor have a clear view of what success looked like at the start.

From talking with podcasters or those that want to create their own shows over the last couple of years via some coaching/mentoring work, the biggest blocker is the lack of planning or having a clear view of the type of show they want. I’m lucky that, having done this in my day job for IT/Business projects, I was able to use these skills to get me up and running.

So, having a background if project management was and is a life-saver for me when it comes to staying on track, getting content created and delivered and making progress. Managing Time falls into this category.

Learning & Advice:

  • Whatever your big goal is for the months or year ahead, plan it out!
  • If you’re not already a Project Manager, don’t let that stop you…just take time to think about what is needed to put together your own project and build out the key tasks
  • Ask for help from someone that is a Project Manager – I’m sure they’d be willing to assist as they like to put structure on chaos
  1. Listening better!

This is a key part of coaching. There are great parallels with coaching an individual and the experience you go through when interviewing a guest. After close to 200 hours of interviews, and probably multiply that by 3 when factoring in editing, I’ve been honing my listening skills a lot over the last couple of years.

I remember the first few interviews I did, I was very nervous. I overprepared and had a set question list. I was more intent on asking the questions and filling the time, than listening to the answers deeply and then deciding on what the best next question might be. That’s changed for sure over time.

I started the podcast project around the same time I was deep in my coaching diploma work and listening was a topic we studied in great detail. The different types of listening, how to listen better, and the benefits of it. All very rich material to bring into my interviews. As the episodes racked up, I became more comfortable with the silence. Giving the guest the space. To think. To reflect. Sometimes the pauses could seem like minutes. When you listen back, you learn that they’re never that long. Just in your own mind. Becoming a better listener is huge for interviews. In your professional life, for leadership and management effectiveness, it’s crucial too. And in personal life and relationships, having the ability to listen well is huge.

Now with almost 100 episodes done, one of the pieces of positive feedback I get from other coaches who listen to the show relates to creating space between me and the guest. Giving them more time to think and talk. Not jumping in to fill the silence. That’s where the magic happens.

As I further develop as a podcaster, a coach, and a leader, having improved as a listener can be a massive advantage in helping others improve.

Learnings & Advice:

  • Practice Listening – it’s a skill you can develop, and it can be a powerful tool to have.
  1. Better Self-belief

When I was putting this presentation together, I found a very early recording of a podcast introduction I did back in December 2016. I remember at the time of recording it, I was a nervous wreck. And this was only being heard by me!

If you’re like me, hearing the sound of your own voice is weird and having to hear it a lot when podcasting is a hurdle to overcome. It was for me.

But as I practiced, it became something more in the background. I got over it and myself. I felt more comfortable with it. I started to listen for the crutch words instead. I started to get better at it. Practice makes better.

As someone that likes (or dislikes but can’t help to) overthink things, my inner gremlin was very vocal in the first few months as I put the show together. He (it’s a he) was always there to add to my anxiety and tension as I got to closer to launch date.

The imposter syndrome is probably something most/all of you have heard of over the last couple of years. That feeling that you’re not good enough. In this case for me to put out a podcast? To share it with the world? I was wracked with self-doubt, fears, worries about how things would be received, how it would go down once out. All these silly negative feelings.

But I persisted. I kept focus on the ‘why’. It’s not about me, but about the message the guests had to share. I was simply the platform to put it out on. That was important for me to realize and keep in mind. As long as the content wasn’t rubbish and could be of value to others (which I always believed it is) then I felt confident it would have an impact.

So, when I did release the first shows, and it went down well, it gave me a huge boost. A sense of achievement and increased belief in the aim. And with every new release, this grew. To the point now, at the end of Season Two, there is only excitement when I hit the release button on a new episode. My main check point; is this something I would listen to myself? Could I get something positive from it? As long as that’s a ‘yes’, then it’s worth sharing.

Since the start of this journey, I’ve not only released podcasts, but I’m now putting out some blogs (like this one), videos clips (One Minute Monday) and even presented on International Podcast Day. With each piece I’ve decided to do, I’ve always had that split second of doubt enter my mind. Am I good enough? That split second is getting shorter all the time. I’m moving forward.

Learnings & Advice:

  • Without doubt, my confidence, self-belief and self-worth has risen and while that was something I might have hoped for, the amount has been unexpected
  • Get comfortable with the failure & make mistakes or you’ll be in analysis paralysis mode for too long!
  • Again, practice helps you improve, and the self-belief will grow
  1. Better Decisiveness – when it’s good enough, it’s good enough!

Leading somewhat directly on from more self-belief, I’ve realized over the last year I’ve become more decisive as a result of the podcasting adventure. And that’s not only relating to releasing shows, but in life in general.

How so?

I’ve read stories from other podcasters that they’ve delayed launches by days and weeks, even months. The ongoing struggle for perfection causing even more anxiety and ties back to the confidence piece. I was no different. That said, I did release my first show on the weekend I had planned to – however that’s the project manager in me coming out.

It was as big struggle though. To get your first few shows lined up and ready to go. That feeling of excitement, fear, worry, and other emotions in there when you hit release to put it out into the world. But as time has passed, and with each passing week, each new show, it became easier and easier. I’ve become more clinical on what to include, and what not. What to re-record, edit out, or leave in.

As you get into a rhythm, the process starts to improve, and you get more efficient. I became better at making the decisions to go. Even if they weren’t the right ones, I’d learn. The Win-Learn situation to the fore. It’s so true.

This decisiveness has spilled over into other content creation too. I started to publish more written material and put dates on when it should go out. Same for video. Get into the rhythm and release release release!

It’s even had an impact on my personal life too. I don’t dwell over decisions as much. Selecting that place to go on holiday, or even what restaurant to go with. Just go for it.

Essentially, I’ve become a big believer that when you have more options, in many ways you have more problems. Choice can create dilemmas. When you just go all-in on one option and see what happens, it makes things so much easier.

Connecting this to the coaching work, it would appear that I’m not the only one faced with these challenges. We’re all challenged in some way with making the right or best decision and this comes up a lot in sessions. Picking one of the doors is better, in most cases, than picking none of them. This journey has proven that to me. 

Learnings & Advice:

  • There is never a perfect time or perfect decision
  • Do it & keep doing it
  • Decisiveness is a practice too. You can build the decisive muscle.
  • Make it stronger and be disciplined
  1. Fear less, do more!

I’m an introvert. I’m comfortable with this now. During my twenties & early thirties, I didn’t embrace that. As a result, I struggled. Drank too much to feel comfortable in social settings, and generally wondered what was wrong! The last few years, and this year in particular, I’ve become much more relaxed with this.

Now, I’ve always suspected I was more on the Introvert side but never really had any proof. And like most introverts, being the center of attention, with lots of eyes (or in this case ears) on you isn’t where you’d most likely be happiest. The little yellow dot above, yes, that’s what that looks like for your typical Introvert.

While I really enjoy presenting on topics, like this, in front of people (in person or virtually), I’m only comfortable with it when I’m passionate about what I’m talking about. And when I believe I have something valuable to share. Putting myself out there without a plan or an interest, then my amygdala has probably already left the building.

Podcasting has made me push myself outside of what I would normally consider the safe zone. I find new ways to challenge myself with every episode. Interviewing in person, interviewing in front of an audience, interviewing people I look up to, doing solo shows where it’s just me, and doing live streaming video shows… the opportunity to push myself into the zone of discomfort is never ending really and it’s really given me that impetus to challenge myself on a daily and weekly basis.

Earlier this year, I was at a conference in Berlin. I was recording content for the PMI Ireland Chapter podcast that I put out. At such an event, I’d have probably connected with a few new attendees but, without happy hour helping me, I’d have kept myself to myself for the most part. I’m not a natural networker so would be more comfortable with a few 1-1 conversations.

However, this year, having the podcast content to capture, it allowed me to interact with approx. 50 others over the few days. It really gave me the excuse to connect. This had not only the benefit of pushing me outside the comfort zone but also meant I was getting great content for the podcast. A third value add for me was growing my own network with these good people. Without the podcast to push me, that would not have happened. Or at least, not near as many times.

Learning & Advice:

  • Be clear on your Why – this will help when pushing yourself to do something you’d not normally be comfortable with
  • Have a clear vision of helping others improve through the content from the podcasts makes the project bigger than just me. That helps me massively and motivates me to push outside the comfort zone

 

  1. Perseverance, Patience & Talk Like Nobody Is Listening

Even with improved decisiveness, there is without doubt a lot of patience required in the world of podcasting. And a very real commitment to staying the course.  And that’s just to get the first show or episodes out the door. The term ‘Labor of Love’ comes to mind for sure.

You can absolutely create content on the go and post it out there in quick or real time, and that’s totally fine. It’s an approach that works for many. As I developed my own ‘How’, I knew the show I wanted to do would take time and focus. I didn’t know exactly just how much! As a result, the patience muscle had to be flexed a lot over the last 2 years.

One of the great pleasures of the journey is when I get to chat with, or give some advice to, others who are working on their own podcasting projects. I’ve heard from a few who lost interest and focus after releasing just a few shows. Statistics show that this is very common. The advice and insight I share is always the same; if you’re doing this for millions of followers and similar numbers of downloads, you’re most likely in for a rude awakening. Be ready to do hard work. Most of all be sure of the reasons you’re doing it, be clear on the outcomes you want and expect that nobody might listen. If that is the case, will you still have learned something from it?

One of the very first interviews I recorded was Andrew Mangan. He’s actually one of the reasons I got into podcasting. I’m an Arsenal Football fan and Andrew is the man behind the hugely successful podcast called ArseCast (check out his show and website – Arseblog– if you’re a fan).  Andrew had agreed to be a guest on my show after an email I sent him a few months earlier. His saying ‘yes’ was one of the main motivations for me to get going with the podcast.Anyway, he invited me to his studio in Dublin to record. While I was absolutely nervous and anxious, the interview went well (here’s a link to it if you’re interested).

One of the most impactful pieces of advice I’ve taken on board so far in this journey, if not the most important, was from Andrew. He’s now getting well over 1million downloads a month for his show, has a huge global following, and continues to release great, interesting and funny content. But all that didn’t happen overnight. As he put it, “the show became an overnight success after about 8 years of hard work, perseverance and pushing hard.” He was following his passion more than anything. Getting to talk about Arsenal in his own very unique style. I remind myself of this on a regular basis.

Since then, similar advice has been forthcoming, not about podcasting but about sport, acting, coaching, and all the various fields the guests have been successful in. Hard work is at the core.

Learning & Advice:

  • Know your reasons for doing the podcast. What’s the purpose & the why?
  • If nobody listens, are you still getting something from it?
  • It will help you develop you discipline, patience – as long as you’re doing it for the reasons that align to your values
  • It’s ok to fail too…know when to stop, or pivot to another type of show that emerges as you learn what works

 

  1. Quid Pro Quo

 

I recall the first time I heard this saying/phrase a few years ago. It was used in a training class I was in by the lecturer. I can’t recall the exact context, but I seem to recall he used the ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ idiom to explain it. It’s stayed with me since.

Since my involvement in the podcasting community began, Quid Pro Quo has come up again and again. In a very positive way. In a recent interview I did with John Lee Dumasfor the 864 Podcast, he mentioned it. His belief is ‘if you’re a person of value to others, it will come back.’ How true!

A few months back, I interviewed another great podcaster & entrepreneur, John Eades of LearnLoft, who has a very popular podcast ‘Time to Lead’. We talked about a lot of topics but again Quid Pro Quo was one of the points that sticks out. John came onto my show as a favor to me. He knew he might get some new listeners out of it, sure. But I probably had more to gain given his following and reach. We were both giving each other something back.

Through social media groups and channels, Quid Pro Quo is very much alive and well too. Earlier this year, I made a rookie mistake when recording an interview. I use a tool called Audacity for capturing the audio and this works great. I wanted to step up my recording game, so I added an external mixer into my set up. Well, in the rush to start the interview, I didn’t check settings and I recorded my voice into, not into my microphone but into the iMac built-in mic instead. Needless to say, the sound was not great. Even my own view of ‘it’s good enough’ was not going to cut it. I was in need of help.  So, I reached out to one of the Facebook Podcast groups I’m a member of for some ideas/help with the sound clean up. What followed was an outpouring of offers to help. Literally within minutes. Such a willingness to help really stood out. I wasn’t expecting it at all.

The helpfulness I’ve encountered has been humbling and inspiring. Almost everyone I’ve connected with is in it for the right reasons and are willing to support each other.

Learning & Advice:

  • Whatever you’re considering getting involved it, podcasting or any other challenge, know that there is a community there willing and ready to help
  • Everyone in it were in your position before they started. I’d imagine that is not something you’d forget too quickly. It has been my experience with podcasting

 

  1. Focusing on the Task, not the Result

 

Starting out on the journey, I was very focused on releasing episodes frequently. I initially thought that I might get 2 per week done, maybe even 3. But quickly realized that the amount of time it takes to put together a 1 hour+ episode is a lot longer than just recording the interview.

Definitely in the early days, when I was still learning how to edit, developing a process and workflow, and pulling it all together, I could spend anywhere between 8-12 hours on one episode. That was including the promo part which is often an afterthought but probably the most crucial part of any podcast or project that is for the general public. If you’re not spending time marketing and advertising it, it’s probably not going to be heard beyond your own core network. So initially, my focus was very much on the end result. I expected that.

But during the course of Season One, as I found my feet, gained my confidence, became more decisive, developed and improved my process and workflow, started to find out new tools and got help from others, my focus on the next task became more important. Get that right, move to the next, and so on.

As I started to do this, and learned to enjoy the moment more, everything else fell into place. I wasn’t too concerned about the result, and definitely not overly  concerned by the chart position in iTunes. The more I let go of what the reaction might be, the more I enjoyed the work. And as a consequence, the output became better, and faster. Week after week, the speed came, as the process became more streamlined. As I learned what worked and what didn’t, I was able to get more shows produced and released.

You hear people saying all the time, focus on the journey, not the result. I’m sure you’ve heard it and felt the urge to go ‘what?’ or not fully agree with it but say nothing at all. I’ve been there too. But these sayings are around for a reason. There is a lot of truth in this one.

Looking back at the other benefits above, many of these are essential components that enable me to enjoy the journey more now. Getting better at listening, knowing myself better, using my PM skills, having more patience, asking for and giving help, and being more relaxed in the discomfort, all help me enjoy the process and the journey more.

It’s also been a common theme from my guests too. From those that have been highly successful in their chosen field, be it Ice Skating, Rugby, Running, Singing, Business, or whatever episode you want to listen to, having more of an appreciation on the task at hand, while having a big goal in mind, leads to greater enjoyment and progress. Belief in the process, everything else will take care of itself.

Tie that into mindfulness which is a foundational element of what I do every day, you’re off to a good start.

Learning & Advice:

  • Plot the course and work on the steps along the way
  • Be open to change/update/revise/tweak the process and even scratch it and start all over again – each time you do, you’ll get better
  • If you find yourself more focused on the result and notice, once you reach it, that it’s not what you had hoped for, take time to reflect and learn to be more focused on each step along the way!

 

  1. The struggle is real but we’re all in it together

Ok – this might not sound like a benefit or maybe even not unexpected. Let me explain.

The podcast theme of getting 1% Better can be applied to any situation or circumstance. And one particular area that I’ve focused on in a few episodes is around our own mental health and wellbeing.

In all the shows I’ve put out so far, the episodes that have been most listened to, are when the topic of mental health has been directly addressed. Even with my own One Minute Monday clips, when I talk about the voice inside my head, having a bad day, and how I have developed approaches to deal with these, the reaction from viewers has been massive.

One guest, Josh Quigleytalked about his suicide attempt and how he’s come out the other side a better person.  Another, Jim Breen, who set up a movement in Ireland called Cycle Against Suicide, is another that talked about his own battle with depression. A third, Madeleine Black, is another that shared her story of being violently sexually abused at a young age and carried around this pain that almost lead to her taking her life. But once she shared this openly, she healed.

These are just three guests from many that I could point to. By sharing out these stories, and hearing struggles and suffering that almost every guest faced at one point or another, it’s clear that we have walls to overcome on our journeys. That road is seldom straight, without fallen trees, flooding, dips, troughs, and many other obstacles in the way.

I’ve received some emails and messages from people I’ve never met to say thanks for sharing these stories. That they’ve had a positive impact. They realise that they’re not alone suffering in silence and that listening to these people’s stories had the effect of having them reach out and talk about it. That’s amazing.

These experiences have opened up my eyes a bit more too. Simply because I might have had my own bad days, dark times, struggles, and have come out the other side (or am still working on it), others might not have been as fortunate or have yet to share. That they need help and you have no idea what goes on behind the closed doors or on in someone head. Our mind can truly be the biggest enemy of all if not worked on.

The benefit of doing the podcasts, for me and others, is that we all need to share and ask for help. The hardest part is to just start. Hopefully, knowing others face that too and still get through it will be of benefit to you.

Learning & Advice

  • Work on your own self-talk and self-awareness
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Know that we’re all struggling in lots of ways
  • Ask for help if you even think you need it – don’t wait too long

 

Some that didn’t make the top ten!  

I honestly could go on. I didn’t include how I feel the experience so far has helped with my own presentation skills, my ability to ask better questions, how I’ve been able to better learn for mistakes and feedback, and how I’ve learned a ton about marketing and advertising. Seriously, it’s been like doing a few different types of Degrees & Diplomas in real-time, without getting the qualifications. It’s helped my ability to coach others no end too of course.

My own voice inside is always extra loud when putting together a post like this. It’s screaming at me not to post it for so many reasons and that it’s not good enough, it’s poorly written, that it will not get a positive response, etc. I could go on.

But I’ve got very used to that voice over the last few years and know that it’s only sometimes of benefit to me. In this instance, I’m sharing this in the hope that it might give one reader the impetus to take on a lofty goal or challenge that they’re pondering over. I’m sure if you are that person, you will learn so much more for the process of whatever that is than you could imagine. Especially if you’re thinking currently just about the result.

I definitely have gained far more that I imagined with this podcasting effort. So far. And I feel like I’m only getting started.

If you would like to chat about any of the above, or have any general questions in relation to podcasting, coaching, project management, or would like to get involved in some of the content creation work in 2019, I’d love to hear from you.

Feel free to get in touch on any of the social platforms or via email – [email protected]


Rob is a qualified Executive Coach 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, goal setting, meditation, and other topics. 

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

Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website


 


Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear
Woah, livin’ on a prayer
Livin’ on a prayer

 

I’m sorry for the above Bon Jovi reference & lyrics. I’m now even more sorry for implanting the tune in your head, which you’re now probably humming. Maybe even playing air guitar? If so, stop! The other day, when I realized I had passed the half-way point in the Dry2018 journey, it was the first thing that jumped into my mind. I’m showing my age, I guess, with the choice of song!

In truth, I’m surprised that the half-way marker creeped up on me so quickly. When starting out back in January, 6 full months seemed like a long way off. Never mind the full year. The fact that is has arrived so quickly is definitely a positive sign. And still going strong sans-alcohol is very encouraging. I decided to mark this milestone with another bit of reflection on more learnings & challenges overcome since the 100 days mark was passed (check out the 7 learnings from first 100 days here). For anyone going through a similar year or period without indulging, some of these might resonate. For those of you considering a stint off the booze, they might even be helpful. Just know, it can be done.

The Business Conference

Zwei Bier Bitter Ohne Alcohol

I’ve attend a good few of these over the years. They generally are great fun and excellent for networking. But pretty much have always included some ‘free drinks’ receptions which I would have always taken advantage of. So, when I signed up to attend a Project Management conference in Berlin in early May, there was a mix of excitement about the event as well as a slight anxiety knowing there would likely be ‘networking’ events that involved large German Bierkrugs full of Weissbier just crying out to be drank! As an introvert, the ‘dutch-courage’helps!

I was right, there was free German food, beer & wine. But they also provided some non-alcoholic beers too. And they’re allowed. It still feels more comfortable when in this environment with a beer bottle in your hand, even if it’s not real beer. Having a diet coke in hand just feels wrong. I’m happy to say though, that the event was a great success and as I was recording content for the PMI podcast that put together, that gave me a real reason to chat and network with others. It forced me outside my comfortzone to talk and engage more. Something that I might, no actually, I know I would have used alcohol for in the past.

Best Friends 40th

It’s the year of the 40thBirthday Party and another very close friend was celebrating theirs towards the end of June just gone. This was the first time that I was out with my oldest/longest group of friends since taking up the Dry18 challenge. So, of course, it was going to be another hurdle. Another new experience. My dry 18 partner-in-crime (or in this case zero crime) Richie was in attendance also. That was a good thing. The extra support helped.

#Dry18 Partners Zero-Heroes

Again, there was a sense that it was going to be a challenge. But things are always worse in your own head than what actually happens. That’s how it was here. An added benefit to others was my ability  to play chauffeur on the night. And as the group all were very much up-to-speed with the #Dry18 challenge, it was well respected! Nobody tried to spike our drinks with alcohol. If this was 10 or 20 years earlier, I have a sense we wouldn’t have got a way so lightly.

But how times have changed. As both Richie and I have taken a shine to the Heineken Zero, we actually had to smuggle bottles of it into the bar as it wasn’t being served there. Now, that’s a first. For many a year, as broke students, we might have been guilty of hustling in some cheap vodka from an off-licence into a pub, saving a few €/£ and getting drunk cheap. Now it’s non-alcoholic beer. As you can see from the image, we’re both enjoying it though.

Summer Holiday

Another potential challenge came directly after my friends 40th. The very next morning my girlfriend and I were heading away for a week’s holiday. The first proper break from work so far this year and the first holiday of Dry18. I’d imagine if we selected Ibiza as the destination, the temptation levels would have been a lot higher, but nevertheless, a week off, with nothing to get up for the next morning, and that sense of freedom from responsibility, would have given me the perfect excuse in the past to have a few drinks every day or evening to help me ‘enjoy’ the time off more.

Instead of Ibiza, we opted for Eastbourne. Instead of Techno and Clubbing, we opted for Tennis and Jogging. A nice relaxing week to soak up the sun and digitally detox. Not putting myself in the line of fire either helped for sure. You can still have a great holiday, without having to go wild. And that doesn’t mean going out of your way of having fun. You don’t want to be in the middle of a wild party atmosphere every night. That could only torture yourself. Do some planning & find a balance.

So often in the past, I’d return to work on the Monday after a week off, thinking & feeling that I need another holiday to recover from the one I was just on. Yeah, you know what I mean? This time round, there was none of that. It still didn’t mean I couldn’t wait to get back to work. But at least the extra dread of alcohol withdrawal wasn’t there. It took me a while to listen to my own advice. But it can be done.

Halfway Home
Halfway to Paradise!

For every long run I’ve ever set out on (long would probably be anything over 8 miles), I’ve always found the first half mentally more challenging than the second. Even though I’d be fresher and have more energy. But as soon as I just get to that half-way point, I feel different. I’ve turned the proverbial corner and I’m now on the homeward stretch, even if that is still 13.1 miles when in marathon mode. It feels like every step I take I’m getting closer to home and, psychologically, that gives me more impetus. It’s just something I’ve always noticed when running. So, I thought, now that I’m on the return leg of Dry18, that it would might like that too.

To be honest, it doesn’t. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, the reason it’s not such a big relief is because I don’t have that same sense of struggle as I do when running long distances. So, as a result, I’m not getting that great sense of relief that I’ve turned the corner and am homeward bound.

Don’t get me wrong either. It’s great that I’ve less days now to do, than I’ve already done. It’s just not as momentous as I thought that half-way mark was going to be when I started out!

The rise of the not-drinking culture? 

The first 100 days were definitely harder than the last 80 or so. As I wrote in the first 100 days post back in April, a number of interesting insights emerged during this period. It was a time of adjustment, pushing myself outside the comfortzone in many ways and experience things in a new light.

Since then, despite my concerns over the summer coming, longer days, beer garden weather, and the world cup football feast coming at me, all of which would have been ingredients that would make for a great day/night’s boozing, it’s been pretty easy going. My levels of social unease when not boozing has dropped and I’m not overthinking these nights out as much as I was at the start.

Taking this beer break has been great. I’ve gained confidence, my blood sugars are in better shape, I can predict with near certainty what I’ll do the next morning and how I’ll feel, and I’ve even been able to share the learnings with folks from other places through these blog posts and with the Alcohol Concern UK group. If any of the above words and insights help someone else on their own expedition, then that’s awesome too.

I’ve also started to notice a lot more non-alcoholic betters and even an alcohol free Gin hitting the shelves. Could there be a bit of a movement starting to move away from drinking too much? I read somewhere about another sober campaigner who is  trying ‘to make not drinking cool’. That’s not my goal, but there certainly seems to be an emerging trend towards a less reliance on it. And that’ is such a good thing. Till the next one. Cheers!


Rob is a qualified Executive Coach 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 strategy and business operations with Dell IT in Cork, Ireland. Rob also publishes articles on productivity, goal setting, meditation, and other topics. 

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

Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website

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