Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Permission to dream!

Klaus Nigel Pertl from Mindstore led a popular session on performance development at the National Learning Platforms Conference, held in Manchester, UK on 10th June 2009.

Klaus suggested we are used to change being smaller and more gradual than it is today. We used to “swim through” the waves of change by working harder and longer. But we can’t just do this in today’s business world because the size of the waves are so much bigger, and no sooner than you swim through you are hit by the next one. We need to become “surfers” and learn to enjoy the massive opportunities that big change creates, rather than simply battening down the hatches and weathering the storm. Action cures fear.

We all need more energy to cope with change. 5 factors for success:

1. STRESS handling – learn to relax, deliberately calm yourself down every 90 minutes, eliminate stress factors, change your belief system as to what things cause you stress (tell yourself daily and in 21-28 days such beliefs become habitual).
2. POSITIVITY – accept reality and when it is less than satisfying look forward and consider the next step. Immunise yourself by avoiding the use of negative words – don’t say “not bad” when you mean “good”. Rather than talking in the language of problem and worry, think of confidence, strength, challenge and opportunity.
3. CREATIVITY – we need both left and right brain activated to solve problems creatively. When you are being creative you have more alpha brainwaves, (similar to being relaxed). Define what you are looking for and understand the task ahead. Remember the subconscious mind is always working on potential solutions to our problems, so don’t expect immediate answers all the time. Pressurising ourselves does not always lead to faster solutions.
4. EMOTION – replace must or should with love to. When we are motivated positively by emotion (love, interest, pride, desire) we are much more likely (80%) to follow our plans through to fruition, compared to those without emotional motivation (10%). Goals become more achievable when emotionally backed.
5. GOAL SETTING – enabling ordinary people to do extraordinary things requires a new approach to goal setting. Committing and setting a goal marks the beginning of something – it is no longer a dream. BUT tying things down at the start to being “realistic and achievable” is not inspiring and constrains goals by pulling back with left brain thinking. Forcing goals to be realistic and achievable is a bit of a holy cow. These factors come from our past – so tend to bring us back to what we’ve done, tried and tested before, rather than allow us to be open to new ways. Also realistic and achievable requires us to plan. The obsession with planning makes ideas collapse. Plans have a place, but the details should be developed along the journey. The right brain is about flexibility and innovation. Maybe we use 10% of our potential each day.

Setting goals with the right brain.

P – PASSION – set goals which excite you and touch your heart as well as your mind, taking you out of your normal comfort zone. Ask yourself WHY you want it? What is your driving emotion? What excites you about this?

F – FANTASY – use imagination to think about something that is not yet reality.

D – DREAM – tap into alpha brainwaves in your relaxed state – create images, see yourself having already achieved what you want. Use visualisation since your mind can be programmed by seeing the ideas, the opportunities and this activates the subconscious mind.

Klaus closed by asking "When did you stop dreaming? Are your partner and kids still dreaming?"

As Careers Advisers I guess we must look frankly at the way we work with people and check we are not shutting down people's dreams, and that we ourselves continue to follow our passions. Are we being too rigorous in adheing to the SMART goal setting methods with our clients, and our organisations? Does everything always need to be quite so specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound?

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Connected Generation 09

There are still some free places left (at the time of writing) for the Connected Generation 09 Unconference on 11th July. It's being held near to Victoria Station in London, and will bring together a range of people interested in understanding digital technologies and using them effectively to engage with young people.

The "unconference" format allows the sessions to be largely proposed and selected on the day by participants, who convene discussions, workshops, meetings and demos according to what people feel are the hot topics of interest on the day. Very different to the usual planned conference agenda!

View the event website here.

Image credit - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdlasica/