The last week of the year is often quiet. There are fewer people around as many go on holiday outside of the cities to be with family and enjoy some space. It is also a time to reflect on the year that was and the year that will come. For me it is the year to come that is my focus. I like to plan out what I plan to achieve, what is realistic and how am I prepared to grow in order to achieve my ideas.
This year for me has seen a culmination of a lot of networking coming together. I have grown my self and my business along the way, had wonderful opportunities and started new projects. I have enjoyed in particular adding Lecturer to my resume with my commencement as an external lecturer and the FH Wien der WKW. I hope this will continue in 2019.
In 2018 I also developed a social media plan to become a creator rather than a consumer of content. I aimed for 52 blog posts as part of this campaign and I am pleased to say this is number 52 for this year. It has been the many small consistent efforts to think, take action and write something that I have enjoyed. I hope you have as well if you have read many of these posts. More than anything else, it keeps me in a creators mindset and helps me to remember that I have more choice and control of my outcomes than I think.
It also takes consistent effort with the small steps adding up to create bigger leaps. So in review, next year I plan to continue to write blog posts. I will continue my Facebook Videos on my Resonant Personal Development Page and I will also add LinkedIn Videos (24 in total). Instead of expressing 'Something that Inspires Me' I will create a 'Music that Inspires me' as music is returning as a positive part of my life that I would like to nurture. To return to performing in Halls, Theatres and other places where I can express my voice through singing.
I wish you a successful 'review and reflect session' and hope you can plan and aim to fulfil the goals you set out for yourself in 2019. It will be my 40th birthday year so I intend to make it BIG!
Recently I was invited to attend a seminar on the Millionaire Mindset. It is coming up next February 2019 here in Vienna and on the recommendation of a good friend, I obtained a free ticket. I have also purchased the book by the author T. Harv Eker and have begun to read it. What I have read so far appeals to my nature, and not only applies to wealth creation but personal development in general.
There are several principles espoused so far one includes:
'If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible.'
The second I would like to share:
'Thoughts lead to feelings,
Feelings lead to actions.
Actions lead to results.
Fantastic. We do live in a duality. Both positive and negative, light and dark and we must embrace this. We know this from our body. We are sick, then healthy only to be sick again at some point. We cannot really prevent it, but we can lessen the effects.
Take the first quote, this suggests that it is the inner and outer world that needs work and the author suggests this is where he gained financial success. The inner side. Many authors speak of this, from John Maxwell, to Tony Robbins and they are all onto something.
In your life, what happens when you also give your thoughts some focus. When you review what you say to yourself and how you speak to yourself. When I coach people in Voice it is the same thing.
'Oh no, I cannot sing......
My teacher told me to be quiet and not present in public.....
I could not possibly go up onto stage and say a few words....
Please don't ask me.'
It is interesting as a Trainer to watch people squirm when they are put on the spot. Whether in a learning situation or a group situation, people are somehow taught not to speak up, to take a chance and risk being wrong.
It is the risking being wrong/right or whatever that perhaps is the difference. In that exact moment, you have a choice. If you look at the second quote by T. Harv Eker it says, thoughts create feelings. When you think you cannot, you won't. It is Mel Robbins, you says you have 5 seconds. Otherwise you miss out. 'Who wants to say a few words? 5 seconds.......' Otherwise you miss out.
So, what is the solution or advice here?
Change your principles, find some to live by. Not just be a good person, but how. Make your principles your own. Don't copy someone else.
Then live them. Make them work for you.
These will spur you into better feelings which as the quote says means you will take action. Action will lead to a result, whether what you want or not, it will be a result.
It is better to take an action and fail and try again, win, lose or whatever than to remain in the wish camp. I am now planning my 2019 and putting in some of the 'wishes' I have discussed previously in my life. Now is the time to risk, take action and see what happens. Then I can say, I have done it. I have acted on my thought.
This is the action. Act on the thoughts. When they are right for you, they will lead you somewhere. Go for it.
For many people around the world, the middle of December becomes a Festive time when we begin to celebrate with family and friends. Whether it is Christmas, Hanukah or another festival, we begin to draw the year to a close. Work parties come and we let ourselves go a bit and enjoy a little too much food and alcohol.
This is the time of the year where it is important to think about perhaps taking an audit. John Maxell in one of his books talks about how he uses the whole of December as a time to reflect on the year. What has gone well with your year? What do you regret? What did you not achieve and how can you still utilise the remaining weeks of the year to get something done?
This is not a time for giving up or forgoing your dreams and desires, but to look seriously at the things that prevented this from happening for you and resolving to evolve, shift or move in some way that will help you to achieve the outcomes you want.
This festive season is also a time for coming together. We all fall victim to not connecting enough with friends and family, so it is a time to see a few people and appreciate them. Tell them you have been thinking of them and enjoy their company. Be in the moment, attentive and actively listen. It is a time to relax and be with the people we love.
The main point here is that as we approach 2019, it is important to have visualised your direction for the new year and what you want to achieve. In 2017 I set this in motion and I am pleased to say that all the things I visualised have come true. For me, some highlights have been becoming a University Lecturer, to have build a portfolio of clients that I serve, to be Division Director of Austria for Toastmasters and to have been able to fulfil my social media goals. This is post #50 and I am on track for 52 Video Posts on Facebook, 52 Podcasts, 52 Photos and 52 things that inspire me. It has been wonderful to receive feedback that I am helping people, that people appreciate my efforts and thoughts and like what I am doing. So to those that have supported me this year, thank you! I wish you much love, creativity and success in 2019 and a wonderful festive season.
One of the biggest learnings I have had in this year so far is that collaboration is key. None of us can do something in isolation or usually alone. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a team to bring projects to life. Working together and all pulling together weight.
I recently put together my first UDEMY course with such a collaboration. I met my collaborator through a mutual friend and we have each brought our skills to create my first online course. My collaborator Philipp has done it successfully before. I am really pleased with the result. It is also something I can offer my future clients and people interested in my work.
This year has been a big year for collaboration. Whether through voluntary organisations like Toastmasters and my church or through professional agreements and associations I am pleased that my world, network and opportunities are growing. I would encourage you to do the same.
The old way of having some business cards is still relevant. Many dismiss this because of social media but I think in many places, like Vienna, it still is accepted and even preferred. The other way I have always found to work, is to simply ask for a coffee. I have obtained several jobs and established collaborations, based on just writing an email or making a phone call about having a coffee.
When I was heavily into cycling, I found Bikewise, who offered me some part time work in Australia. My current collaboration with MHC, now three years on, began with a coffee (of course I took my resume) and before long had a job. Recently, I established my collaboration with Die Schule des Sprechen here in Vienna, by dropping off my business cards and kindly requesting to connect with Tatjana Lackner. It paid off. This level of confidence in your abilities and strength and determination to ask is what pays off. Some people admire it, but many are willing to hear your story and offer you some time.
I admit when I first arrived here, I thought the collaborators would run to me, but it doesn't work that way. Especially in singing. I thought it would be easy to pick up where I left off in Australia and just get some work. But it hasn't. Yet. I have to make the change, ask and be bold.
So be bold and ask as you never know where it might lead. It doesn't cost you anything and also allows you to feel like you are ready to connect, be open and curious. Of course, be smart about your potential collaborations, know what you can offer and take a chance to have a chance as my father-in-law always says. It will pay off eventually and I can say now after nearly four years in Austria I am see cross connections. That is, people who know people and are in different fields of my life. Just last night someone at my Toastmasters club had seen me sing at a church friends farewell concert. Collaborations take connection and connection takes communication. Communication therefore is key. This starts with you.
Do you know people who chew your ear off? Or others who never listen to you when you talk, they always want to interrupt with their seemingly important information and you are not sure why they never 'hear' you? Do you also know people who connect with you, make you feel special and listened to, who actually care and take note of what is happening for you?
Where you stand on this spectrum?
We can all benefit from learning how to converse. Conversation is a mainstay of society and is the reason most things happen. New ideas spark from a good conversation, we console, show concern and connect with others through conversation. Throughout millennia it is conversation, speaking and the art of conversation that has allowed us to prosper.
So how can you improve your conversation skills?
Conversation is an art that we are losing. With texts, videos, short attention spans and email, we should not forget our conversation skills. Without phones and interruptions and giving space for true connection.
So often we hear about globalisation. While a fantastic invention and something we all benefit from there could be a flip side. Namely, that we forget the local. Our immediate circle and those around us. For many, the internet and social media is fantastic as we can reach a wider, wholly international audience. I love being able to connect with family and friends in other parts of the world. I also love connected the other whom I haven't met but can learn from. Sometimes it feels great to take on new information and ideas, but conversely it can also fill me with lack. Lack at not being enough, not doing enough and perhaps failing in some way. This is where looking at others and perceiving the social media world of others doesn't help. Comparing is never good, so what can we do?
We can think local. While we now live in a globally connected world, it is important to support, work, think and be local. To connect with those around us most immediately. To serve and support our community whether at a local church, Toastmasters club or football club or simply to be a nice neighbour and friend to those around us. To be kind to colleagues and those with whom we work. Build relationships, grow friendships and cultivate community.
Vienna while often an unfriendly place is also a nice place. In our district through having a dog we have been able to connect with many in our neighbourhood and in our building, we connect and know most of the neighbours personally. It feels nice to say hi to people in the street and greet them. This is not always possible in Vienna, but people become more friendly once you know them.
So think local, be local, connect locally and live locally. The global can wait sometimes and we don't all need 15 minutes of fame or to conquer the world. Explore and connect with others locally.
How often when you wake up, do you feel some anxiety? If I am honest, I do. I also know when I feel this way I make little cough sounds. I am not sick, but just cough. Interesting. What about you?
For me the little anxieties are usually about things I have not attended to. I have some Toastmasters projects looming and I cannot see away forward. I am meeting with a new client and feel like I don't know what will happen. I am not sure if I will get from meeting to meeting on time.
Ultimately once I start my day things go better or at least on par with my expectations. Most of the time. But what about when they don't?
This weekend at church, I am singing a solo 'Be Not Afraid' by Bob Dufford and apparently he wrote the song in a moment of anxiety. It is a religious song but the main tone if that we are not alone. We have support and guidance. Whether from above, friends, family or other sources, we need sometimes ask for help. This is what I did this morning, and I feel much better.
Do you ask for help when you need it? I think sometimes we don't until it is offered. We don't want to burden others and pretend we can do it. Until we can't. Often this is not too late like in the movies, but what if we asked for help sooner. How might things different?
I could imagine that we wouldn't feel so much anxiety. We would feel connection with others and perhaps understand that More can be be achieved. Players of team sports generally know this, but we live in a world of increasing isolation with technology. Too often we turn to tech now for advice when perhaps we should really be turning to others.
I am going to try this for awhile and see what happens. Be not afraid to try it to!
What role does music play in your life? Do you allow it to inspire you and give you energy or it is no more than background noise to an otherwise hectic life? Do you listen to certain types of music at certain times to lift you? I do and I hope you might too.
Some selections for me include:
Make music a part of daily life. Listen for all moods you are in. Find songs that help give you energy, bring you down mostly just allow you to feel more fully and completely than you thought possible. Music is such an incredible gift and in this day and age it is available to us all. So let us use music to bring about change, transform lives and allow us to grow.
A Moment of Truth is when we have to see if our hard work is enough. It could be an exam, a new Opera role, a public speech or a job interview. We all have moments of truth in our lives and they are a test of our character. Sometimes we are enough and we do a great job and sometimes we haven't. We are not there yet! Yet! But with more work another moment of truth will arrive. This is the point. We are faced with moments of truth many times.
When are your moments?
The end of October in Austria into November has a couple of shorter weeks thanks to public holidays. This is a time when Viennese scatter to holiday spots and take quick get away's. For me, it is a nice time to sleep in! Taking on Randi Zuckerberg's advice (see my post titled the Power of Three) I am now allowing myself to choose sleep a bit more by both going to bed earlier and once a week sleeping in a bit more. And let me say, it feels nice. This level of self care and respect is lovely. We need to do it more. A Toastmasters friend of mine once said she takes herself on a date each week. Nothing gets in the way of this for her.
In our fast paced world, what else could we do to promote self-care and take a rest?
All of these activities while still active, allow us to come to terms with ourselves, to see we are just here in space and that we have simply today. Tomorrow is a memory and the future is not yet formed, so we need to just be in the moment. It is easy to say and harder to do. I know this for myself as I try to cram in more activity and achieve things on a list. For what? I don't have to always do so many things and want to incorporate this rest into my life.
David Corcoran is a Personal Development Trainer who specialises in Voice and a professional Opera Singer. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.