Category Archives: Excellence

The End of an Era

Today I write about something not so philosophical or perhaps profound as I have done in the past.  I write about the end of an era, the closing of a chapter in my life and, indeed, the beginning of a new one.  After twelve years I have resigned from my current place of employment.   The past twelve years have been a tremendous journey of opportunity and growth.

So why would I make this change now after such a long period of time, time that has been happy and joyful?  Sometimes in life opportunity comes knocking at your door totally unexpectedly.  Out the blue a potential new chapter in life presents itself.

Let’s take a step back here for a moment and look at some of the history behind this.  I’ve been working with email and email systems since 1994.  Essentially from the birth of email as a communication and collaboration tool in businesses.  I’m passionate about email systems, fascinated by how they work.  This passion of mine led to extensive participation in community forums – answering questions, assisting with resolving issues experienced by folk all over the globe.  I’ve written technical articles, published [amateur] training videos all in my quest to share knowledge.  Some call this my hobby, I call it my passion.

My contributions in this area appear to have been noticed.  Suddenly I get a phone call from a global company asking me to come work for them doing just this, supporting and assisting email administrators globally.  My hobby, my passion, has now turned into a new job!  I will be in a position to continue sharing knowledge whilst remaining a lifelong learner.

I’ve spent some time reading my own previous posts and realise, yet again, just how much they apply to my life – how I have prepared for this day, how I’ve prepared for new opportunities, how I can approach this massive change by starting with that first single step.

So where to from here?  We are relocating to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in a few short weeks.  A new country, a new job, new opportunities to learn and grow.  I am excited and nervous simultaneously.  This is a huge step, a massive change.  But I remind myself of taking that first step and how I plan my journey in small stages.  So here I am walking along an untrodden path and climbing a new mountain one step at a time.

 

The end of an era

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

 

Just for Today

Each morning I need to choose how I want to live my life today. The choice is entirely mine.

So how do I want to live my life today?

A few years ago I came across some literature from Alcoholics Anonymous titled “Just for Today”. One of the statements reads like this:

JUST FOR TODAY I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won’t find fault with anything, and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.”

I printed this out and placed it prominently by my desk. Each day I am reminded how I want to live today. Is it that easy? No it’s not. It is a new commitment to myself every morning. It is an active decision I make.

Looking back on my life over the past few years I have come to realise that making this conscious choice each morning, by committing myself anew each day, has had a tremendously positive impact on my life. Slowly but surely abrupt rudeness has given way to courteousness. My unkempt appearance has cleaned up significantly. My desire to control other people has dissipated and been replaced with greater self-control and regulation. These changes did not take place overnight. They have been so gradual it’s only when I stop, look back, take stock, do I notice the improvements that have come about in my life.

There are folk who have only met me in recent years. Some do not believe I was once such an obnoxious person to interact it. And obnoxious I was! Have I changed or was I always that “Just for Today” person waiting to come out?

There is an old saying that a leopard can’t change its spots inferring that a person cannot change who they are. I know this, I am not a leopard! I am a person. As such I can choose my attitude. I can change my mind. I can change my decisions. I can choose my outlook on life. I can expand my world-view. I can choose to change.

I don’t care to worry much about leopards and their spots. I care to look in the mirror each morning and choose how I’m going to live just for today.

Just for Today

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

Perception Defines Reality

Too many years ago to mention here I resigned from a position I held.  A senior member in the organisation made a rather public statement along the lines that I was a broken person incapable of dealing with the reality of life! Hmmm… seriously?  Yes, seriously.  In my young naivety I created a negative internal dialogue I would constantly repeat and rehearse, and thus live out subconsciously.  I, without being aware of it, embraced this as the reality of who I was and I started to believe this to be a true reflection of me.  I subconsciously believed that I was a dysfunctional member of society simply by being who I was.

People generally form a perception of who we are and, I believe, this is based on the perception we have of ourselves and thus the one we project.

So what impact does our internal self-perception have on our outward reality?  I believe that how we perceive ourselves internally influences how we project ourselves to others in society and how we ultimately function in society.  Chances are that if we are convinced, not necessarily at a conscious level, that we are a failure, we will act out accordingly and project that message to the rest of society.  Chances are that we will be perceived as a failure, be seen as such, and treated as such.  There’s an old saying that goes:  “Perception defines reality.”

There is a famous statement [attributed to Stephen R. Covey]:  “I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”  The circumstance was a negative statement, as misguided as it may have been, made about me.  My decision, conscious or otherwise, was to let that define my perception of who I was.  The end result was not pretty.  I walked around as a young-adult with a chip on my shoulder.  I was angry at the world blaming everyone for the challenging situations I had encountered.  This in turn led me to become a negative person to interact with.  I become a product of my decision.  The actual circumstance was irrelevant.  It was my decision that defined the outcome.  I allowed my immature decision define the reality of who I was.

As I continued to walk along my journey of life I pondered on the statement:  “I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”  I started to challenge the decisions I made due to challenging circumstances encountered.  I eventually realised that only I have the power to make new decisions.  Only I have the power to rewrite my internal scripts, to adjust the perceptions I have of myself.  By working on creating a much more positive self-perception, based on new decisions, I soon created a far more positive perception of who I am in the minds of those whom I encounter in life.  It is my experience that we live out, and project ourselves in society, in the same manner in which we perceive ourselves.

Now I challenge each decision I make for each circumstance I find myself in.  I challenge myself to make the best, and most positive decision possible –  to turn each situation into a learning opportunity and grow from it.  Only we have the power to make, or change, our decisions and define how we perceive ourselves.

Perception defines reality!

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura