Passion“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

Many people end up in jobs or careers that are not aligned with their passions or life purpose. They may generate good income, have a great family and some leisure time, however, deep down they feel negative about their jobs. Passion is not a topic discussed in training manuals or university courses. However, by finding your passion and turning it into a career you can align your physical, mental and spiritual being. Nothing is impossible when work, pleasure and lifestyle become one.

Following the aftermath of the recession many people lost their jobs and found themselves at the crossroads pondering on their future careers. Many people were suddenly forced into following their dreams and have become highly successful in their new careers.

So how do you find your passion in life and turn it into a career? You can find your passion by considering a few questions:

  1. Are you currently enjoying your job and career? If you are enjoying your job where you can’t wait to get to work in the morning, time passes quickly, you like talking about the work you do with your friends, and you find yourself in a relaxed lifestyle, then your current career may be aligned with your passion.
  2. What did you enjoy doing as a child? As a child you may have had a hobby or obsession such as motor vehicles or you enjoyed trekking. Then pursuing these childhood passions may result in your ultimate lifestyle career.
  3. What do you enjoy doing as an adult? You may have a weekend hobby or a casual job that you enjoy immensely. Alternatively you find that a small component of your work is thoroughly enjoyable and you would like this to be the main part of your work. For example, you may enjoy coaching and mentoring your staff, which can ultimately turn into a successful coaching career working for yourself.

Many of us become complacent in our current situation or we may fear change, which stops us from pursuing our passions in life. We need to stop and evaluate whether the work we are currently performing is aligned with our passions and providing satisfaction in our lives. If not then we must develop a plan that will allow us to transition seamlessly into a new career where we can follow our dreams!

Dr John Kapeleris



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Effective Execution

January 9th, 2013 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Action - (2 Comments)

Effective Execution“Success comes from transforming thoughts, ideas and opportunities into action”. John Kapeleris

Despite the emphasis on taking massive action and getting things done as the cornerstone of success, we continue to make new year’s resolutions that dissipate within a few weeks of starting the new year. Individuals and corporations find it difficult to effectively execute personal and strategic initiatives. Although we have clear goals and objectives, detailed plans and the commitment to achieve the results we want, we continue to struggle with effective implementation. Therefore, what can we do to implement effective execution in our personal and business lives?

Gilbert, Buchel and Davidson in their book “Smarter Execution: Seven Steps to Getting Results” identify seven steps to achieving effective execution:

  1. Focus first – Focus can provide clarity and at the same time magnification of the tasks we want to achieve. If we focus on the high value tasks that will make the difference in our work and personal lives, then we can easily execute our plans.
  2. Pick the best possible team (resources) – You need to have the right skills and capabilities for effective execution. If you are assembling a team of people ensure that you have the correct alignment of skills with the tasks required. If the skill set is not available internally then it should be outsourced.
  3. Set the course – You need to set a clear direction of where we want to go and develop clear execution steps that remove confusion.
  4. Play to win – The team and its members need to possess a winning spirit. Strong personal motives can drive projects and tasks to successful completion.
  5. Think it through – You need to think through the foreseeable future steps and have in place alternative courses of action. Mental rehearsal provides a clear pathway but at the same time can anticipate potential impediments that can be overcome in advance. It is important to think through the resources required, reviewing the key success factors and being prepared for any risks for the upcoming execution steps.
  6. Get all aboard – Every team member must be committed to the vision and direction of the project. Communication will be an important factor to ensure the team is informed of the progress against the agreed vision and direction. Any deviation should be evaluated, agreed and communicated to the team.
  7. Follow through – One of the critical steps in achieving effective execution is the follow through. The lack of follow through could certainly guarantee failure.

Wishing you a happy, prosperous and successful New Year 2013!

Dr John Kapeleris

 

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Entrepreneurship is defined as the process by which a new venture is created when an entrepreneur identifies a new opportunity in the market to create economic products and services. An entrepreneur is therefore someone who is willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation in the market. The innovation could be in the form of a product, a service, or a novel business concept or model.

The typical characteristics of an entrepreneur include:

  1. An enthusiastic person with a vision
  2. The ability to identify new opportunities
  3. Calculated risk-taking
  4. Responsible in decision-making
  5. Overwhelming urge to succeed
  6. Discipline and persistence
  7. Confident and persuasive communicators
  8. Driven by the sense of accomplishment
  9. The ability to coordinate and manage scarce resources (time, money and people)

Studies according to Arthur Cole (1959) have identified four types of entrepreneurs:

  1. The innovator
  2. The calculating inventor
  3. The over optimistic promoter
  4. The organisation builder

Entrepreneurship is a very difficult undertaking, where many new businesses fail. Only a very small percentage (approximately 1%) of people who go into business succeed. Entrepreneurial activities range from solo businesses, many now being created online, to establishing large businesses, such as mining, employing large numbers of people. Entrepreneurs can also exist within existing organisations who identify new opportunities able to grow the existing organisation or alternatively are involved in spinning out new businesses. These entrepreneurs are referred to as intrapreneurs. An innovative high performing organisation should nurture and support the development of intrapreneurs as this activity can create significant growth for the organisation, either through the internal development and commercialisation of new ideas or through the creation of subsidiary businesses. If organisations do not identify, nurture and support intrapreneurs then many will leave the organisation and create their own businesses.

Entrepreneurship has been identified by many economists, including Joseph Shumpeter, as a driving factor that creates value in the economy through the following benefits:

  • Creating new jobs
  • Expanding new markets
  • New products and services
  • Satisfying domestic consumption
  • Developing new and existing industries
  • Income generation and economic growth
  • Healthy competition creating higher quality products
  • Supporting the existence of government and their budgets

Dr John Kapeleris

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You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want”.  Zig Ziglar

On the 28th November 2012 a great man passed away. His name was Zig Ziglar, and he had left a lasting impression on me as a result of his knowledge in sales, his wisdom on success and his inspiration in life.

It was 1996 when I first met Zig Ziglar at a Jim Rohn event in Brisbane, Australia. I was a fledgling in sales just having acquired the role of Business Development Manager for a Medical Diagnostics company where I was responsible for establishing international markets in Europe, Asia and North America. Since Zig Ziglar had an excellent reputation in sales knowledge and experience I was looking forward to learning some of the skills that would differentiate me in the market.

After listening to one of the most inspiring and influential presentations from Jim Rohn, including a number of goal-setting and personal development activities that changed my life, it was time for Zig Ziglar’s presentation. His unique southern US drawl with a preaching style voice hit my senses immediately. The words and ideas that were delivered captured the attention of everyone in the room and became influential and motivational for me in decades to come.

Following ia a summary of the notes I took on how to be a top performer:

  1. Regardless of the past, tomorrow is a clean start
  2. The choices you make today will determine what you will be, do and have in the tomorrows of your life
  3. Top performers learn to make the right choices – There is something you can do right now to change your future and it is your choice!
  4. Don’t waste time blaming others; fix the causes – You are the only one who can solve your problems
  5. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind – It is what happens inside of you that matters.
  6. Top performers learn every day by seeking new ideas – Establish an “automobile university” and listen to audio CDs on the road
  7. The most important conversation you will ever have is with yourself
  8. Develop a wall of gratitude that highlights the people who have made a difference in your life
  9. What you send out is what you get back – Improve your conversations and your attitude
  10. Serving others is the foundation for relationships

Dr John Kapeleris

 

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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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The Power of Knowledge

September 25th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Knowledge - (2 Comments)

“Knowledge is only potential power” Napoleon Hill

One of the keys to success is attaining the knowledge that can be applied in a given situation or in our daily lives, and to convert that knowledge into value for ourselves or the organisation in which we work. Knowledge is attained through a number of avenues, including formal education and schooling, through parents and mentors, on-the-job training, and through self-education and personal experience.

The unfortunate situation is that our schooling system, although it provides general knowledge for many topics, it fails to provide specialized knowledge for developing life skills. Specialised knowledge for developing life skills usually comes from our parents and mentors, on-the-job training and through self-education and personal experience. More importantly educational institutes do not specifically teach people how to organise and use the knowledge after it is acquired. Knowledge becomes power when it is organised and intelligently directed through practical plans of action and to a definite end. In other words, practically applying the knowledge to develop skills in a particular activity, business or profession.

To successfully run a business or undertake a specific profession you need to acquire specialized knowledge. The first step is to determine the sort of specialized knowledge you require, and the purpose for which it is needed. To a large extent your major purpose in life and the goals toward which you are working, will help determine what knowledge you need. Once you have achieved the first step, the next step will involve identifying dependable sources of specialized knowledge, including the following:

  • Formal education and training e.g. universities and colleges
  • On-the-job training
  • Using a mentor and/or mastermind group
  • Self-education courses e.g. seminars, books, DVDs/CDs, online courses

I have found that self-education courses through books, DVDs/CDs and online courses have provided me with the best specialised knowledge to develop life skills and specialized business skills. Reading books at least one hour per day in a specific topic can provide a significant source of specialized knowledge. Furthermore, I try to listen to CDs in the car when I drive to work or visit clients taking advantage of the time available. As Zig Ziglar states, “Turn your car into an automobile university of success“.

Once the specialized knowledge is attained, the final step is to put the knowledge into use through plans of action. The translation of knowledge into practical application will achieve successful outcomes (John Kapeleris). Many people make the mistake of continually sourcing and accessing knowledge but they do not apply the knowledge to their definite purpose, business or profession. It is important to develop practical action plans that have a defined objective, and to work towards the objective on a daily basis.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Beyond Mediocrity

September 10th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Innovation | Personal Development - (0 Comments)

Having grown up in Australia and being exposed to its unique culture and beautiful environment one of the disappointing aspects has been the “fair go” mentality. From a legal and human rights perspective giving people a fair and safe environment to live in is extremely relevant and important. However, when we as Australians use the “fair go” or the “she’ll be right mate” mentality it unfortunately reduces our competitiveness to a playing field that is well below some international standards, thereby negatively influencing our attitudes and productivity. We begin to blame the system or someone else, instead of taking responsibility and massive action to change the current situation.

When one of my children states, “It isn’t fair Dad!”, I reply with, “Yes you are right, because life and business is not fair, but highly competitive”. If our sporting heroes and teams adopted a “fair go” or “she’ll be right mate” mentality, Australia would not have been so successful in many of its sporting achievements. Business and work life is no different, therefore we need to have the passion and the desire to succeed in a very competitive global arena.

One of the drivers of productivity is innovation and I don’t mean just research and development, although this is a very important component of the innovation ecosystem. Innovation in the sense of the practical application of new and creative ideas to generate value in the market, either through, new products and services, processes, organisational systems or novel business models, can provide competitive advantage for an organisation and stimulate increased productivity. A good example is reflected in traditional manufacturing firms that adopt innovative practices through design integration, business model transformation or simply adopting advanced manufacturing concepts, such as additive manufacturing or systems integration, that can differentiate themselves in the market place, increase productivity and transform into a high performance organisation.

Australia’s recent productivity metrics have been well below international levels, continuing to deteriorate despite the mining boom. The deteriorating trends can be confirmed in the recent article “Australia’s Productivity Performance and Real Incomes“. Many sectors, in particular retail and manufacturing have been suffering in the current economic environment.

It is important to note that the majority of productivity improvements can only be made as a result of management decisions and strategies implemented in firms. Public policy can also play an important role in improving Australia’s productivity, particularly in areas of regulation reform, taxation reform, public spending and skills development. Australia is already the third highest cost environment for businesses in the world and with diminishing productivity this can only get worse for Australian businesses.

I believe innovation is the key to improving productivity in Australia. Innovation can create higher value products and services, improve production process efficiency, design new business models, and differentiate firms in the global market. There is no doubt we have to work harder, but more importantly work smarter to improve productivity efficiency. Having a “fair go” or a “she’ll be right mate” attitude is not going to help Australian businesses become more competitive on the global arena.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Productivity in our work and personal lives involves focusing on the key goals and objectives, developing a project plan, identifying the key value-adding tasks, and executing the plan by taking action. It may come as a surprise that many people struggle with this basic approach to achieving personal productivity. Many reasons can be identified for losing focus and not taking the appropriate action to achieve the desired outcomes.

The first issue lies within our minds. The human brain, although powerful and complex, if not trained appropriately can only handle a limited number of tasks at any one time (the literature generally states about seven tasks or pieces of information). As the brain becomes overwhelmed and stretched to perform, it begins to forget important items in the process. The brain does not generally think sequentially or in a linear manner. It thinks more in a random or radial manner.

The second issue involves interruptions from colleagues, unscheduled meetings, the telephone, email or the influence of external people. Interruptions should be avoided and removed from your daily work environment. This can be done by closing the office door, finding a quiet place to concentrate, checking emails at specific periods of the day (morning, midday and late afternoon), making all your calls in the morning and late afternoon, and delegating as many tasks as possible.

The last issue involves lack of clarity and focus. Focus can be achieved through concentration and structured thinking. The mind has to be reinforced that focus and action are the key drivers to achieving successful outcomes from a project. In addition, clarity can be achieved by removing the clutter and blocks that exist in our minds.

Following are the key steps that will increase your personal productivity:

  1. Use structured thinking to provide clarity and focus
  2. Focus on the key goals and objectives
  3. Develop a project plan and identify the key value-adding tasks
  4. Assign time limits on each of the tasks
  5. Take immediate action
  6. Maintain the self-discipline

We all struggle to remain productive and achieve optimal outcomes. The key to success involves focus and action.

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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You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” — Gandhi

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. Your life purpose, goals and objectives should be part of your Personal Development Plan.

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 calendar 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. Numerous studies have shown only three percent of the population set goals and only about one percent actually write them down.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and/or to set new goals and objectives for 2012. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2011. 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. In early December of 2011 I took the family to Hawaii for 17 days to celebrate a very successful 2011. 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 2012. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2011. 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.

What are your key goals, objectives and action plans for 2012?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for the New Year in 2012!

Dr John Kapeleris

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