Achieving Personal Excellence

October 11th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Success - (1 Comments)

While I was reading Brian Tracy’s book, “No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline” I came across an interesting section, which in summary stated that if you want to join “The Top 20 Percent” in a given field or profession then you need to achieve personal excellence in the specific skills required for that field or profession. You need to identify the key leaders or dominant players in the given field or profession and emulate their skills and behaviours. Brian Tracy also mentions that if you want to be successful identify a successful person and find out what they do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You need to know what they do when they wake up in the morning, their exercise program, what they eat and drink, their daily routine, what they read and write, what they are thinking, and what they do in the evening before they go to sleep.

For example, to become a football (soccer) superstar you need to identify the skills and behaviours of the leading players and develop those skills and behaviours through learning and significant practice to achieve personal excellence in the game. If we take the example of the football star then the key skills required to achieve excellence include: fitness/endurance, ball skills (passing, receiving, dribbling, defensive, attacking, kicking, finishing), running speed, awareness and anticipation (position), decision-making, and most importantly, discipline, attitude and mindset.

The same approach applies to business and personal life. If you truly desire to be the best in your given field or profession (that is, the top 20 percent) you need to identify the skills and behaviours of the top performers, and develop and practice those skills and behaviours. For example, in my current role as General Manager, what I need to do is focus on leadership skills. As a summary from a previous blog, “A New Profile for Future Leaders“, the key skills and attributes of a future leader include:

  • Key leadership skills
  • Ability to create and articulate a vision for the future
  • Define and establish clear goals and objectives
  • Mentor and develop staff
  • Team dynamics
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Ability to generate new ideas and identify new opportunities
  • A high level of written and verbal communication skills
  • Negotiation and persuasive selling skills
  • Operational and project management skills
  • Financial management
  • Change management

Once you have identified these specific skills you then need to evaluate your level of competency for each skill by developing a Personal Skills Matrix. A skills matrix consists of a list of the required skills for your field or profession and a rating for each skill against the level of competency required.  The skills matrix will determine the gaps that exist and this will provide the basis for your personal development action plan that will encourage you to focus on the specific skills required for your development.

Dr John Kapeleris

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I am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow.” Sam Levenson

Procrastination is defined as the act of replacing high priority and important tasks with tasks of a lower importance, or delaying the actioning of important tasks to a later time. Procrastination may occur for a number of reasons, including the fear of failure, anxiety in starting or completing tasks, the need for an adrenalin hit as a result of self-imposed working under pressure, ineffective decision-making, perfectionism and ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks.

Procrastination is very common amongst the population with many people procrastinating to some extent. Humans generally have a tendency to replace important tasks with tasks that are more familiar or fun to perform. Chronic procrastination is a more severe form that can be very damaging to a person’s life or career.

A number of steps can be implemented to manage or deal with procrastination:

  1. Recognising that you are procrastinating – You need to be honest with yourself in order to recognise that you are procrastinating. Characteristics of procrastination include: focusing on low value tasks and actions, being engulfed by your emails throughout the day, getting ready to begin an important task and becoming immediately distracted, waiting for the perfect conditions to begin a project, and keeping tasks on your To Do list for some time even though they were marked as ‘important’.
  2. Understanding the reason why you procrastinate – The mind has a tendency to convince yourself that a valid reason exists to procrastinate, often involving subconsciously lying to yourself. The reasons why you procrastinate could be due to either the type of work involved or your beliefs and behaviour. One of the reasons why people procrastinate may involve the work not being interesting, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by the tasks. Other reasons can include being disorganised which can result in anxiety in starting or completing tasks, or having a fear of failure/success stopping you from engaging the work. Being a perfectionist will also result in procrastination because perfectionists wait for the right conditions before they begin a task, or they try to achieve  the most perfect outcome thereby never actually completing the task. The final reason for procrastination relates to ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks resulting in a delayed or slow start to actioning tasks, thereby escalating the required effort towards the end of the deadline. This is common with many university students who undertake assignments and examination preparation, and is often labelled as ‘Student Syndrome”. No matter how much time is provided for the student to complete their assignment they will take all the available time and end up cramming all the work just before the due date for the assignment.
  3. Implementing strategies to deal with procrastination – A number of strategies can be employed to deal with procrastination:
  • Keep a To Do list and ensure that you complete the required tasks quickly and efficiently
  • Break down the activities into manageable tasks in the form of an action plan that can be tackled quickly and easily
  • Utilise an Urgent/Important Matrix to identify high value tasks

  • Implement a reward system that is linked to the completion of important tasks
  • Start some easy tasks every day to fuel your momentum, which then allows you to tackle the larger more important tasks
  • Focus on goal setting, scheduling and planning to streamline your project management skills
  • Employ a mentor or coach to help you overcome procrastination or to encourage you to maintain your momentum on a particular project
  • Tackle the worst task in the whole To Do list first thing in the morning (e.g. Brian Tracy says ‘Eat the Frog’ – since this is the worst thing you could do everything else should be easy to undertake)
  • Repeat the cycle for 20 days so that it becomes a new habit

The longer you spend time without procrastination the better chance of breaking the habit.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Your personal belief system is made up of all the previous knowledge, experience and precepts that govern your thoughts, words, behaviours and actions. The current beliefs you possess have developed from an early age, many of which have been acquired through the teachings and learnings obtained from parents, teachers, other authority figures and our personal experiences. Having strong beliefs gives us a sense of why we exist and where we are going in life. Our belief system underpins our life purpose and influences our thoughts, values and behaviours. Many examples have been documented where people have risen above extreme adversity and suffering on the strength of their beliefs. Survivors of concentration camps indicated that they survived harrowing experiences and extreme hardship because they believed in the hope for a better life in the future. Some also visualised and believed they were living in a better life which removed the focus away from the suffering.

For many people their personal beliefs have been barriers to personal development and creating the life they desire. These beliefs are called limiting or damaging beliefs and have been acquired through life predominantly at a young age. For example, we may have been told by our teachers or parents that we will not amount to anything in the future or that we are not good enough to succeed. Limiting beliefs threaten the goals and objectives that we set. We may never be able to achieve some of our goals that we set because they are in contradiction with our limiting beliefs.

If your goals, objectives and life purpose are in conflict with your beliefs then you should change your beliefs to match your goals. This is not a simple task, however we must begin the process of reprogramming our thoughts and beliefs. Following is a process that can be used to modify our beliefs, however we must be disciplined to achieve the change we desire:

  1. What are the biggest problems or issues in achieving your goals and desires?
  2. Identify all the deep-rooted beliefs that may be limiting and write them down
    • “I’m not good enough”
    • “I don’t have what it takes”
    • “I’m too tired to exercise”
    • “I don’t have enough education to seek the new role”
    • “I’m not lucky in life”
  3. Choose the 2 to 3 beliefs that contribute most to the problems or issues
  4. Substitute these limiting beliefs with positive supportive beliefs (generally the opposite to your original belief)
  5. Focus on the new beliefs daily by repeating and affirming the new beliefs
  6. It will take some time and repetition to reprogram your subconscious to accept the new belief (at least a month)
  7. Remove any contradictory thoughts and focus on the new belief
  8. Start to action your goals and objectives that were not previously achieved

The problem and the solution lies within you!

 Dr John Kapeleris

 

 

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“Everything that can be invented has been invented. Charles H. Duell, (Commissioner of U.S. patent office, advising President McKinley to close the U.S. patent office in 1899).

We live in a time where more and more ideas are converted into successful outcomes that create value for society. We need people who come up with ideas and new inventions (inventors), but also the people who are able to convert these ideas into successful products, services and businesses (entrepreneurs). Generally both inventors and entrepreneurs are able to come up with new ideas, and share some common characteristics, however, the key difference is that inventors are usually focused on the tangible invention, while entrepreneurs are more focused on the business opportunity. Off course some inventors are also entrepreneurs and vice versa. Inventors are interested in developing a novel product but not necessarily bringing it to market (i.e. commercializing it). Entrepreneurs procure, organize and manage resources (human, capital and other) through a new venture to bring a product to market, without necessarily having invented the product.

Therefore, how can we be more entrepreneurial in spotting patterns and trends, and seizing opportunities that can provide the next breakthrough concept, service or product? The simple answer is that we need to develop our entrepreneurial mindset and the characteristics associated with entrepreneurship.

Following are some of the characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Mind:

  1. Serendipity – The aptitude to identify opportunities through observation or by accident e.g. Scotchguard, Velcro, penicillin.
  2. Flexibility – The ability to change your business to accommodate changes in the external environment e.g. business model innovation
  3. Ingenuity – Possession of original thought allowing new concepts and clever adaptations e.g. Apple iPod.
  4. Niche picking – Identifying specific customer needs and wants that you can deliver faster, cheaper and better e.g. Dell computers.
  5. Speed and multiple agendas – Moving through multiple “gates” and “corridors” faster than the competition e.g Microsoft.
  6. New channels – The ability to notice and exploit expanded or new distribution channels e.g. Amazon.com.
  7. Hypothetical thought – The ability to re-evaluate an existing product or service through questioning e.g. Leonardo da Vinci
  8. Comparative thinking – The ability to see what competitors or other businesses are doing successfully and applying these to your business.
  9. Radical thinking – Developing totally new opportunities that no one else has considered e.g. Apple iPad.
  10. Action and discipline – Developing an action plan, and having the discipline and commitment to implement successfully.

To achieve the above entrepreneurial characteristics we need to undertake further education, mentoring and on-the-job learning. A great service that can assist inventors to better understand the entrepreneurial process in taking their ideas to market is the AIC’s Inventor Service.

Dr John Kapeleris

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“The purpose of man is in action, not thought.” — Thomas Carlyle

We are fast approaching Christmas and this is always a sign that we have once again reached the end of another calendar year. I always find the end of the year to be a time of reflection and review. It is also a time to evaluate the progress of your life purpose, goals and objectives that were set at the start of the year or the longer term goals set in previous years.

The end of the year also offers a fresh start for activities that we had intended to do but never got around to doing them. Although I had previously stated that any day can be the start of the rest of your life, the end of the year can be a special time because it can provide closure to outstanding action items that may no longer be relevant, but also removing limiting beliefs by leaving them behind in the current year. The dawning of a new year provides the incentive to start a fresh action list and the motivation to get things done.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calender year is reached. It is not just about making New Year’s resolutions at the dawn of the New Year, it is about making a committed effort to set written goals and objectives for the coming year and for the medium to longer term timeframe.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and to set new goals and objectives for 2011. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2010. These could include work achievements, financial objectives, family highlights, personal development, educational achievements or personal success outcomes. Achievements should also be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure mental reinforcement and capitalizing on the motivation that this can provide to your subconscious mind. I try to reward myself when I achieve a particular goal or objective. For example, I will buy a gift for myself that reminds me of the success that I have achieved, or I will organise a special holiday trip for myself and my family. Last January I decided to go to Byron Bay and live in a beach house for ten days to celebrate a very successful 2009. In previous years I bought myself a Tag Heuer watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed in the year.

I use a visual journal with white pages to document my goals and objectives for the new calendar year. Once I complete this activity I then develop Action Plans for the major goals and objectives. Throughout the year I periodically review my goals and revise any action plans that are not progressing as expected. You should also prepare a vision board which consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision, goals and objectives. The vision board helps to stimulate your reticular activating system in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious.

Like most people I also identify a few missed opportunities or disappointments for the year. This allows me to learn from the experience so that I can strengthen my future plans moving forward. Go ahead and document the missed opportunities and disappointments. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to capitalise on the missed opportunities or overcame the disappointments?”, and document potential changes and actions for the future. Don’t spend too much time regretting the missed opportunities. The rest of your life starts now, therefore focus on your future goals and plans for 2011. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2010. Particularly goals that were over ambitious, which is common amongst high achievers.

I had also previously posted a number of blog entries that can provide further detailed information on developing your goals and objectives (see below). Furthermore, I have included a Personal Development Plan Template that may also be used as a guide. A decent driveway paint site will get you the driveway paint you want.

What does your personal development plan look like?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for 2011!

Dr John Kapeleris

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“Genius (success) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”  Thomas Edison

Having the right mindset and attitude through positive thinking is the first step to achieving success. However, ultimately achieving successful outcomes will require action through the power of positive doing.  Success will only emerge from the actions you implement in life, once you have taken the opportunity to think about what you want and then plan what you are going to do.

Positive doing is about being motivated to take responsibility and to action a number of activities that result in progress along a planned roadmap or action plan. Even though we may deviate from our initial plan the key to success is the power of positive doing.

Tips to becoming more positive in life:

  • Focus on positive thoughts and remove any negative thoughts from your mind
  • Take responsibility of your life or someone else will
  • Find your direction and sense of purpose in life
  • Be assertive by cultivating your self-confidence
  • Value and respect yourself to improve your self-esteem
  • Face your fears and challenges in life as a first step to releasing your negative blocks
  • Get involved and make a contribution through the actions you take
  • Enjoy and celebrate your achievements

Positive thinking must be followed up with positive doing. Although I am a strong advocate of positive thinking, this alone will not achieve the outcomes you desire. You must act upon the positive thoughts, ideas and plans that you establish by implementing positive action.

Following are the ingredients to implementing  a positive action plan:

  1. Determine the goals and objectives
  2. Define the “what, who, when, where and how”
  3. Identify the specific tasks and sub-components
  4. Determine the key milestones
  5. Assign responsibility for each task and the timeline required
  6. Implement tasks and monitor progress
  7. Revise any tasks as required and celebrate the outcomes

You can use the following template to develop and implement your action plan.

The key to positive doing after establishing your action plan is to just START. Many people fail to execute their plans because they don’t start implementation for a number of reasons, including procrastination, not knowing how to begin, wanting everything to be perfect, mental roadblocks, or fear of taking action.

To implement a “positive doing” strategy in your life you must:

  1. Start your action plan
  2. Begin taking positive action steps
  3. Maintain self-discipline
  4. Persevere
  5. Periodically stop to reflect and evaluate
  6. Continue to drive your actions
  7. Check off your milestones

Dr John Kapeleris

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What is Success?

February 4th, 2010 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Success - (1 Comments)

Success means so many things to different people. For many, success is about achieving financial freedom in their lives and having the time to do what they enjoy doing. For others, success may involve achieving harmony with their mental, physical and spiritual aspects of their life. Success can also mean achieving the goals and objectives that you set out for your life journey and achieving the outcomes that you anticipated.

Your own idea of success may be a combination of the above, but the key will be to make it happen now!

Three Steps to Success

I have tried to simplify the process of moving to the next level of personal development and achieving success in your life. Having read numerous books and listened to a number of audiovisual programs on success I have reduced all the different approaches to three key steps in achieving success:

  • Think – positive mental attitude, beliefs, creative thinking, intuition, dreams and desires, subconscious programming, visualisation
  • Plan – life purpose, goals and objectives, commitment, detailed action plans
  • Do! – positive doing, self-discipline, taking action, implementation, evaluation

Although all three steps are important to achieving success the emphasis should be on the “Doing”. Ultimate success comes from the actions you implement in life once you have taken the opportunity to think about what you want and then plan what you are going to do. Success is a journey therefore you need to start working on it now. Today is the start of the rest of your life.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming of success without actually planning and putting into action their plans. Don’t get me wrong. Thinking and having a positive mental attitude are important precursors to success, however these alone won’t pull you through. I can now understand why Thomas Edison stated that genius (success) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

What is your definition of success?

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