@lnspiration4U: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby
Here are the top 7 tips for self-improvement. They are general principles that apply to lots of areas of life. Therefore no matter who you are, at least most of these tips should be of use to you.
1. Self-improvement is your responsibility
When we our young, nature and society grow us automatically: our bodies develop under their own automatic schedule, and we are pushed through the school system where we are learning new things every day. But at some point – usually in the 20s for most people – this stops, and we have to take responsibility for our own growth, or we will just stagnate or even deteriorate, mentally and physically.
Once you are an adult, you are not fully-grown, you still have lots of potential. But you’ll only develop it if you decide to.
So my first tip is to acknowledge that it’s important and natural that you should take responsibility for your own self-improvement. A big part of this is figuring out who you are, what you’re passionately interested in, and then actively pursuing this.
2. Understand the 80/20 law
Also called the Pareto principle (after the Italian economist who first described it), this is a general principle that you see cropping up again in nature and society. Basically it states that the majority of the effects are created by a minority of the causes. For example, the minority of books that are launched each year make the majority of the sales (same with music), or in a business, 20% of the customers account for 80% of the sales.
The figures aren’t always exactly 80/20, they may be more like 90/10, or 70/30.
How does this relate to self-improvement? The answer is that there’s probably only a minority of things you do which create the biggest and best effects in your life and a small number of bad habits create the majority of the bad effects. This is good news as it implies that just by adding one or two good habits or removing one or two bad ones you can revolutionize your life.
Observe yourself and figure out what small changes could have the biggest effects. Things like cutting out smoking, watching TV or drinking sugared soda drinks can have big effects.
If your company is like mine, you are in the middle of annual reviews. As a senior manager, I have read hundreds of reviews over the years. Some very good. Some very bad. I’m not talking about the employee’s performance here. I’m talking about how it was written. Do you want to write a more effective review for your employee?
1. If they “need to improve” in an area, rate it accordingly. BUT…you must give examples as to why they earned this rating. What did they specifically do that demonstrates they need to improve? What kind of coaching have you provided over the past year that they perhaps chose not to follow? You can’t just use the canned language that comes with many online review software. That’s not fair to your employee.
2. If they “exceeded” your expectations, again, you need to present why. I’ve read far too many reviews where the manager rated their employees as an exceeds but with zero supporting documentation. This can come across as playing favorites or worse, laziness on the part of the manager. Or the manager is wanting people to know they lead an “exceeds expectations” team – but that falls flat when that same manager receives a “meets” or “needs” on his/her review.
3. Point out past success, recognitions, awards, etc. Any of us like to read/hear about those instances. It was good the first time. It will be good the second time around.
4. If they need to improve, spell out what they need to do to turn their ship around. Explain what how you will also be invested in their development. This will build accountability into your coaching sessions.
5. Give them a goal to stretch for in the future. Plateaus are ok for a bit. But your job is to challenge, develop and stretch your team. Your results will rise if you do.
6. Show them the purpose in their daily work. Make sure they understand that what they do makes a difference. If it doesn’t, should they still be doing it?
Build a strong team. Spend quality time creating and presenting quality reviews. Your team will be the better for it.
One of the “secrets” I have used is to help my team identify the purpose in what they are doing. One of my departments focuses on behind-the-scenes work that is the same day in and day out. It is critically important (I work for a financial institution) but it can be monotonous all the same.
I have spent a lot of time with this team in helping them keep a “face” on the work that they do. They aren’t just processing a wire transfer. They are helping one person move funds to fulfill an important need. They aren’t just processing a direct deposit. They are bringing peace of mind to a person who is expecting funds to arrive in their account on time, every time. They aren’t just providing process steps to a person who just lost their spouse. They are bringing a caring and thoughtful service to a real person during their deepest, darkest hour.
This approach has developed a strong sense of ownership in this team. They care deeply about what they do. They keep their eyes open for new efficiencies and are quick to help other team members outside their department understand what they do.
Work without purpose is work. Work with a purpose is a calling.
Published on April 19th, 2012
Written by: Markham Heid
Does every morning start like a scene out of Zombieland—and you’re the zombie? Skipping breakfast may be to blame. A review of 134 breakfast studies conducted by the University of Leeds in the UK found that your memory, problem-solving skills, verbal fluency, and several other measures of cognitive ability all suffer when you miss the most important meal of the day.
New research provides a road map that can help you get the most from your breakfast and your brain every morning.
Eat like a cow. Verbal reasoning and problem-solving ability improved roughly 35 percent among those who practiced grazing, or dividing breakfast into four smaller meals spaced an hour apart, finds a study from Cardiff University in the UK. Spreading out your meals gives your brain a more consistent supply of energy in the form of blood glucose, the study explains.
The best breakfast nut. People who ate a small handful of polyphenol-rich walnuts every day improved working memory 19 percent, finds Spanish research. Polyphenols have been shown to reduce oxidative stress, which may help improve communication among your brain’s neurons, the study hypothesizes.
Walk your brain awake. Just 20 minutes of walking improves your “cognitive flexibility”—your brain’s ability to produce a flow of ideas and answers when presented with a problem—by 16 percent, says a study from the University of Illinois. The researchers attribute the brain benefits to improved cerebral blood flow and increased levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Protein power. Eating a protein-rich breakfast resulted in a nearly 20 percent boost in brain activity compared to either no breakfast or a breakfast high in sugar, Japanese research shows. That’s because protein, unlike sugar, provides your brain with a consistent energy source, the study says. Eggs are a great source of hunger-quelling protein, not to mention a lot of other good stuff.
A better source of caffeine. A recent study from the University of Bristol in the UK found that just 20 to 30 milligrams (mg) of caffeine boosts brainpower—regardless of how alert the subjects felt. That’s about 100 mg less than your average cup of coffee. Higher doses didn’t provide any additional brain boost. So have a small amount of dark chocolate in the morning. Research has shown dark chocolate improves blood flow and cholesterol levels, and may even help you lose weight. One ounce—or about two 1-inch squares—containing 70 to 85 percent cocoa packs roughly 25 mg of caffeine. (For even more great food choices, make sure you check out Eat This, Not That! 2012.)
By Joy Bing Fleming, MBA
The “Hour of Power” consists of 20 minutes of meditating or just relaxing, 20 minutes of exercising, and 20 minutes of reading. If you don’t have an hour in your day, then you can shorten it to 30 minutes.
Mind Relaxation. You can use the relaxation time to simply clear your mind, calm down, and get rid of any stresses that you may be feeling. Sometimes, you may become so calm that you fall asleep. That’s okay. Right before you start the “hour of power,” just remember to set your alarm for 20 minutes, so you’ll wake back up. You can also use the relaxation time to figure out what you’re passionate about and to clarify your purpose. You can ask yourself:
– If I absolutely knew that I would not fail, what would I really like to do?
– If money was not an issue at all, what would I like to achieve?
– What do I desire most?
– What really makes me happy?
– What does success mean to me?
– When do I feel the happiest and the most alive?
– What are the top 10 things that I really want in my life?
Exercise. Everyone needs some form of exercise in their lives. You can walk or run in the neighborhood, watch a workout video, walk the dog, etc.
Reading. Reading everyday is very important. You should read for 20 minutes. If you don’t have 20 minutes, simply reading 5 or 10 minutes a day will begin to change your life. Reading positive and inspirational books will improve your self-confidence and help you become an even better person. Building up your self-confidence will help you overcome your fears. Your thoughts will change. You will become a positive thinker. Once you’re focused on positive events, thoughts, and occurrences, you’ll begin to notice all of the wonderful small things that you missed before (like how amazing it is to see the sunshine outside, getting all green traffic lights on your way to work, getting an up front parking space, etc).
Books concerning your life’s purpose are helpful to read. Books about whatever suits you and whatever brings joy and happiness into your life are also important to read. Reading improves self-esteem, creates awareness, as well as empowers one with unlimited knowledge. The “Hour of Power” has helped me a great deal.
In school, I had to read many books, and I didn’t find reading enjoyable. So, when I finished college, I decided that I didn’t want to read anymore books. Therefore, reading everyday was a challenge for me. However, when I became interested in learning more about how to figure out my purpose, that made it more enjoyable. Also, today you can purchase many books on CD. Once I focused on reading or listening to a CD just 20 minutes a day, it became alot easier.
“If I train and develop my team, they may leave.”
What if you don’t and they stay?