Category Archives: Live

A Journey of a Thousand Miles…

An ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, Lao-Tzu, known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, and founder of philosophical Taoism, wrote these wise words:  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

What exactly does this mean to me as a New Year has dawned?  As I look at what lies ahead in the New Year, as I set my goals and ambitions, I feel overwhelmed with the mountains I anticipate climbing.

I sit down and ponder on all I wish to achieve, all the projects and milestones set for me at my place of work.  I think about my personal goals.  All of which appear, at the start, to be insurmountable.  Then I remind myself of what Lao-Tzu said.  Everything we wish to achieve in life begins with the first step.

That first step is the beginning of action.  Without action we will never start moving towards our goals.  It doesn’t matter how small the task or goal is, we have to take action.  If we wish to drink a glass of water we must take action – walking to the tap is the start, is taking the first step.

Often I fall into the trap of analysis-paralysis.  I become so overwhelmed with what lies ahead that I hesitate to take that first step.  I’m afraid of the journey and what it may hold.  But without taking that first step I will not start to move forward.  Without taking that first step I will miss the opportunity to grow, to accomplish goals, to turn my dreams into tangible reality.

So what do I do?

I’ve come to the conclusion that by procrastinating that first step I immediately stop my growth, halt my action and doom myself to failure.  What do I fear more – failure or the journey?  I am terrified of failure thus my only alternative is to overcome my fear of the journey.

How do I overcome this fear?

Before I take the first step I need to know where my destination is.  I write this down in a detailed and descriptive manner.  It is not enough to say to myself I want to be successful this year.  I need to describe how exactly I’m going measure what I consider “successful” to be.  Once I have clearly defined my destination I need to plot the route I’m going to take in order to arrive at my destination.  Unfortunately Google maps isn’t much help, nor is my standard GPS.  I need to discover my own internal GPS.  As I look at my destination I need to identify my waypoints, my landmarks, to help me navigate to my destination.  These are the smaller goals and tasks I need to accomplish in order to arrive at my final destination.  These landmarks make my journey less frightening and more manageable.  As I identify my waypoints I am able to plot a more specific route to take in order to get to each marker on my journey.  By breaking down my final goal into smaller chunks the final destination appears to be more attainable.

The end result is a clear map to follow on my journey.  This aids me in not losing my way and getting lost on the journey.  Should I stray from the path I have a map to refer back to so I can get back on track, gain perspective, and take the next step forward in the right direction.

Having said all of the above, my journey must still begin with that first, single step.  I muster up the courage and take that step but firmly have my destination set before me.

Journey of a Thousand Miles

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

Luck, Preparation and Opportunity

There is an old saying, attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca:  “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  I wrote a few weeks back about how I have prepared my whole life for today.  Of late I’ve given more thought to this and how we prepare ourselves for when opportunity comes knocking at our door.

Recently I was in a presentation a colleague of mine was giving to a group of young professionals.  He summed up the main theme of the presentation using the phrase:  “Hunt or Die.”  Either we are going out and actively finding our food or sitting in our cave and slowly starving to death.

My colleague went on to relate a story, a parable if you wish, about two farmers in a drought.  One farmer went out and prepared his fields in anticipation of rain.  The other farmer sat back, did nothing, and simply waited for the rain.  When the rains came which farmer reaped a harvest?  Naturally the farmer who had prepared for the arrival of the rain.  This farmer had prepared his fields in the absence of evidence that rain would fall.  In fact, he had no guarantee the rain would ever come, but he prepared nonetheless.

This struck a chord in me.

In my life I have come across, essentially, two types of people –  those who actively seek out opportunities to grow, to study, to better prepare themselves for that day when a new opportunity comes knocking at their door, even though that opportunity has not yet presented itself.  The other type sits back, loathe to study, to stretch their minds, to gain more experience, lamenting that there are no opportunities immediately available.

We can’t see into the future.  We can’t predict when the next opportunity will come knocking at our door.  However, we can choose what we do in the interim.   It doesn’t matter if we are dreaming of the perfect job or the perfect relationship.  What matters is how we are preparing for it today.

As the Girl Guide motto says:  “Be prepared.”

luck preparation opportunity

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

 

Passion – Turning Challenges into Success

I am passionate about sharing knowledge.  I love investing in the training and development of people from all walks of life.  To see another person grow whether personally or professionally is incredibly rewarding for me.

I am blessed to work for a company that recognised this in me.  They tailor-made a position for me within their structures to afford me the opportunity to follow my passion.  As the old saying goes:  “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”  I don’t have a job, I have a calling.

The challenge I face is often this role requires me to present training programmes to a wide audience and that involves public speaking.  How many of us are comfortable with public speaking, standing in front of an audience and doing a presentation?  I find it downright nerve wracking.  Performance anxiety and I are old friends.

As a youngster I attended speech therapy lessons for a few years.  I had a speech impediment to overcome.  Something I never quite mastered.  When saying the word “Rubbish” it still sounds like “Wubbish”.  The “K” sound sometimes comes out as “Kkkk…”

Added to that reading aloud is somewhat of a challenge too.  Words and letters move around and run into one another on the page.  The result – I can’t read my presentation or my notes to my audience.

So why on earth am I in a vocation that involves public speaking?  The odds seem stacked against me.  Short answer – I’m passionate about sharing knowledge.

How can one share knowledge without speaking about it?

I was determined not to let the challenges facing me stand in the way of me fulfilling my passion. I learnt to compensate and turn these challenges into my favour.  Nothing worse than sitting through a presentation where the presenter reads the slides to you.  Since I cannot do this I find my audience less bored and glassy-eyed as I actively engage with them.  To compensate for challenges in speech I slow down just a little and pronounce my words a little more carefully.  I find myself better understood.  Am I saying that I am an outstanding presenter?  Far from it.  I am, however, saying that I am fulfilling my passion.  I believe I am successfully sharing knowledge.

Every one of us face challenges in our lives.  No one is excluded from this on our journey through life.  It is what we do with the challenges we face.  We can use them as excuses for not conquering what life throws at us, or we can use them as opportunities to grow. I choose growth.

Passion is what I have.  Challenges are what I seek.  Success is what I deliver.

 

passion challenges success

 

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura