Tag Archives: Plan

When is failing, failure?

This is a question I’ve had the opportunity to consider in my work role that I commenced earlier this year. A core component is determining the presence of the scientific method in assessing complex research and development projects.

In science, I’ve learned failing is a lesson, a pathway to a revised experiment. In life, failing is more often seen as being unsuccessful. The reality is, though, that failing only becomes failure when we cease trying.

Muhammad Ali was a great boxer, deemed by many to be ‘The Greatest’ of the 20th century, perhaps all-time. As a boxer, he was knocked-down by opponents. How many world titles did he win from the canvas? He won world titles not by staying down, but by rising up and continuing to fight. Boxing analogies are well-used I know, but that’s because they reflect what many of us do not do. When we’re struck down, floored by an unseen challenge, we spend too much time working out how and why when we should be readying ourselves for the next round.

Are we using failing as an opportunity to learn and go again, or we allowing it to nudge us closer to failure?

This is where we need to adopt the view of science, not the world. We need to measure our efforts, our plans, by the systematic progression of work we’re employing, not by the immediate outcome.

Adopting the scientific method into our own world means that we begin with the idea, the dream, the goal. Around this we develop a framework of what we think is required – the skills, the knowledge, the relationships, the courage. This provides the platform for our ‘experiment’ where we infuse the idea with effort, where we give it a go.

At this point, the immediate outcome may not be the final result. If our effort delivers the outcome we desired, fantastic – move onto the next idea! If the outcome is not what we desired, fantastic – move back to the framework we created and alter, refine and expand. If the result remains the same after several iterations of the framework, we may even need to go back to the original idea to determine if this is valid for us at this point in time.

The famous quote attributed to the inventor of the lightbulb, Thomas Edison, epitomises the scientific method ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’

Failing only becomes failure when we cease trying.


Setting up for a win

I think none of us deliberately set out to lose, particularly in this so-called game of life where we all know the stakes are just too high, especially when it’s not just us, it’s our family as well.

Whilst we’re intent on “winning” I reckon many of us just don’t know how or if we do know how, then we’re unsure if our effort will be enough. Now I’m no parenting “expert” but our family has travelled through some valleys, emerging battle-scarred, but intact, on the other side. So on that basis, I’d thought I’d share a few simple thoughts on how we can all set our families up to WIN!

  1. ListenHear their stories (even for the umpteenth time!), acknowledge their concerns, give them time. What are they REALLY saying to us?
  2. Encourage. Yep, they can do it! When we encourage, we’re creating a habit of giving it a go.
  3. Celebrate. We all love a party so create a culture of celebration. This is about the effort not just the results.
  4. Enlist. We don’t have to do this parenting thing alone. Build strong relationships with other families, within your church and sporting clubs. Draw upon the people around you, utilise their strengths.
  5. Plan. Don’t leave everything to chance; plan the special events, the celebrations, the private time.

There is, of course, plenty more to building a happy and healthy family, but keeping the above 5 keys in mind will allow us to at least create a strong platform.  I’d love you to share some of the keys that work for you – just post a comment below.

LET HOPE RISE (& families win!)

Photo: Royalty free image purchased via 123RF Stock Photos

Insights from a stay-at-home dad

First and foremost, I do NOT use the term “house-husband”! I can fully appreciate how stay-at-home mums feel undervalued and unappreciated when labelled a “house-wife” (after all, neither husbands nor wives are betrothed to a building!).

I’ve had an opportunity to stay home with my boys for a few months and so feel worthy to share some insights to not only those who might be considering this but to all parents, would-be parents and anyone facing CHANGE. At some point, we all make transitions from what we know to the unknown, moving into a realm that offers greater uncertainty and unpredictability.

Enjoying routine, my greatest challenge initially was developing a structure. I was accustomed to arising early and doing the CBD transit to work, returning late evening. This was me Monday to Friday with the boys’ soccer on Saturday, church Sunday and various mid-week meetings or events. The first week or two I was in holiday mode minus the beachside vista and the budget! After this, I clambered for structure, a routine around which I could reasonably expect to produce something.

The idea of producing became key. At work, my production was clear – I knew the outcomes expected, the processes I needed to undertake and how productivity was measured. As a stay-at-home dad could I count my 3-year-old having a successful toilet encounter as an outcome? Perhaps a day where the ice-packs remain in the freezer and the band-aids in the cupboard is deemed “successful”?

And what do you tell people when they ask how the job’s going? Stay-at-home mums look at you surprisingly with an equal sense of empathy and sympathy, career dads mostly look confused. This is where an elevator pitch comes in handy!

So whether you’re considering ditching work in favour of managing your home or you’re entering a new phase of your life, take stock of the things you currently take for granted and prepare a plan for the unknown!


Lying on a nail

My own circumstances have reminded me of the old story about a traveller who comes across a farmer with a dog on the porch. The animal was quietly moaning to itself because it was lying on a nail. When the visitor asked the farmer why the dog didn’t move, the farmer replied “I guess it just doesn’t hurt enough“.

I have returned to my nominal position at work after several secondments and whilst it’s not as rewarding as recent opportunities, it certainly is manageable. This could easily become a case of the dog on the nail – uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to do anything about it. The challenge with this is that I’d end up moaning quietly, living in silent dissatisfaction, with it slowly creeping into other areas of my life.

How often do we tolerate situations simply because the discomfort is not sufficient enough to force a move? Why do we wait until the situation is no longer tolerable or when a move has been forced upon us?

How much better would it be to be proactive, identifying early signs of dissatisfaction and creating a plan to do something about it?

In the work sense, this could be defining a career plan encouraging us to seek specific learning opportunities or networking to enhance career options. Relationship-wise the start could be as simple as taking responsibility for the current status of the relationship and then doing something positive to move it where you’d like it to be.

Irrespective of the circumstance, if we’ve found a nail, let’s at least stand up!

Let Hope Rise.

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In the moment

We all have ‘stuff’ going on trying to make ends meet, create some form of work / life balance, handle relationships, be the best employee / boss / student / husband / wife / son / daughter etc that we can possibly be. This means that at any given time our heads could be in multiple places seeking solutions to a myriad of challenges, a way out of the maze.

Like myself, you have probably driven to work or completed a chore without really thinking about it. You have probably eaten a meal and shared time with family while your mind was elsewhere, also just like myself! An essential ingredient of successful living is to ensure that we’re ‘in the moment’ regardless of all the other stuff going on.

This means that when we’re celebrating our child’s birthday – be there 100%. When we’re out to dinner with our spouses – be there 100%. When we’re enjoying a family gathering – be there 100%. When we’re meeting someone new – be there 100%.

It’s very easy to let our minds wander onto the pressing issues of life. What we all need to do is to allocate a time to address these important issues – a time when we are free from distractions and we can practically sort through the particular challenge to develop the appropriate plan of action.

We need to also train ourselves to consciously remain in the moment and actually experience our surroundings: truly taste the meal you’re sharing, genuinely listen to the stories being told, smell the freshly brewed coffee placed before you, actively engage in the conversation.

This then allows us to be in the moment for our kids, for our spouses, for our friends, for ourselves.

Let Hope Rise.