Personal Development

Ditch the books and learn lots!

Looking back on my life I can pinpoint times of rapid and substantial growth and development. On a personal basis they sometimes involved life changing, and even life threatening situations. Professionally they were usually projects and/or roles that I initially didn’t want to do because they seemed too big a stretch. They were high profile and in one way or another, high risk.

One example was when I was serving in the Royal Navy and was asked to set up a residential training unit for the welfare staff of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Army. It was a totally blank sheet including:

  • A new geographical location where I didn’t have a network of support
  • No designated building
  • No budget
  • No experience as a trainer

I had 3 months to find, furnish  and resource a suitable building, and design, deliver and evaluate an 8 week residential programme, complete with volunteer guest speakers.

During that time I learnt many knew skills and discovered strengths I didn’t know I had.  Not from books; not from courses; but from experience. From taking action, reflecting and adjusting as I went along. And that is coming from a coach and trainer! Now, as a lifelong learner I am not saying more traditional forms of learning don’t work at all. What I am saying is that you can achieve deeper, quicker and more sustainable development from stretching, work-based assignments and this is often overlooked.

Although when I was first given the assignment I was scared and doubted my ability to cope with it, I am so grateful to my boss for giving me the opportunity and trusting in my ability. That kind of development opportunity is priceless.

What stretching, scary, development opportunities have you experienced that had a massive impact?

Where can you offer the same opportunities to your team members?


Julie Kay helps you improve individual and team performance by building the strong trusting relationships you rely on for your success. If you are genuinely interested in boosting performance, productivity and profits the answer is just a click away. For more information, just click here

Getting Unstuck

“I’m Julie Kay and I’m a recovering perfectionist,” I also know from my work as a coach that I am not alone in that. I work with many committed, hard-working people who are driven by providing the best service or the best product possible for their clients, colleagues or customers. At the same time, a large number fail to meet their own and their customers’ expectations because they miss deadlines, run out of time and deliver something of poor quality or don’t deliver at all because they don’t get past the planning stage and therefore deny their customers access to themselves and the outcomes they can potentially deliver.

The poet Rabindranth Tagore describes this beautifully:

“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.”

Procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand. Perfectionists hold themselves back, telling themselves they need more time, more skills, more information, or more certainty, before they can produce high quality results.

Not all procrastination is down to being a perfectionist though. Sometimes it is related to feeling overwhelmed, getting caught up in the detail, being fearful or just plain bored. For example, when I find myself doing the housework it’s a strong signal that I am avoiding something even more unappealing!

Whatever the reason, these suggestions may be helpful in getting you un-stuck and into action.

  • Remember that a perfect product that never materialises is doing your customers a dis-service. Find the balance between quality and timeliness.
  • When you are procrastinating, re-connect with why you are doing it. As the saying goes, “when the why is big enough the how will take care of itself.”
  • When you are feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the project, break it down into the smallest possible steps that you can take easily every day.
  • Celebrate your successes and make sure you acknowledge actions taken as well as outcomes.
  • Build in accountability. Find ways to hold yourself accountable, find an accountability partner that will check in with you, challenge you and be interested in your progress and results.

I would love to hear what you do to stop procrastinating and start producing the goods.

Julie Kay helps you improve individual and team performance by building the strong trusting relationships you rely on for your success. If you are genuinely interested in boosting performance, productivity and profits the answer is just a click away. For more information, just click here

Where to Focus Our Attention

Anthony Robbins said “Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.” When I was being treated for cancer 10 years ago, this quote really helped me and I totally lived by it.

Many of us who are committed to our continuing personal and professional development are familiar with visualising success. We picture the successful outcome in full Technicolor, turn up the volume on what we are hearing, and increase the intensity of our positive feelings. It is often very effective in motivating us to take action and start to close the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

However, when fear is keeping us stuck and we feel unable to take action it can also be really useful to flip this and focus on what we fear.

Samurai warriors used to visualise their own death in combat before they went into battle. In a meditative state, the warrior would vividly see his own death and accept it. This dissipated the fear and freed him up to go on and fight with abandon.

I believe that at times it is beneficial to consider the worst case scenario and ask ourselves what we would do if it became a reality. It helps to face the fear head on and recognise that we will come through the other side, one way or the other. In other words “this too shall pass.”

My questions to you are:

  • Do you think it is ever beneficial to focus on your fears?
  • What would you do if you were fearless?

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