Browsing articles tagged with " big picture"

You’ve Made A Plan So Now What?

Jan 10, 2011   //   by Rob Drysdale   //   Blog, Professional Development  //  2 Comments

Well, here we are at the beginning of 2011 and we’re all back at work and tackling the backlog and emergencies that have arisen since we’ve been away for the holidays.  So what’s changed from 2010 to 2011?  The answer for many of us is often “not much”.

In a previous post I talked about needing a plan so we could see the big picture of where we wanted to go so we could establish a direction and relate what we are doing to the goals that we want to achieve.  Many times this is difficult for us and we have trouble working on the tasks that relate to our goals because other things get in the way and take priority.  It may also be that we have part of a picture of where we want to be in 5 or 10 years, but aren’t sure how to get there.

Do You Need A Mentor?

If you’re struggling with how to move forward on your plan, you should think about a mentor.  I follow Lynn Dessert (blog | Twitter) and just before Christmas she did a blog post Finding the right mentor on her site Elephants At Work.  It struck me that many people probably don’t have a mentor or understand why they would want one.

A mentor is someone who you can turn to and talk about where you want to be and discuss some of the perceived barriers or roadblocks and get advice on how to move forward with your plan.  Generally a mentor is someone who has experience in the area that you are looking for help in and they can guide you and help you because they’ve been through it before.  Think of a mentor as similar to a therapist, but instead of asking “how did that make you feel” they can give you practical advice about getting to the next step in your plan.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had a couple of people that have helped me as mentors.  While I wasn’t actively seeking someone as a mentor and I never called them a mentor, they really were.  They helped me to see what I was doing and how it contributed and how to move forward.  Sometimes it’s an ear to listen, sometimes it’s asking the right questions, and sometimes it’s just a bit of practical advice on what to do and where to go.  Two years ago I finished working in a role that I had for 5 years and looking back I regret that I didn’t make more use of a mentor as it would have helped me achieve more in what I was doing at the time.

Can You Mentor Others?

If you aren’t really in need of a mentor right now, but feel like you have significant experience, how about being a mentor to others?  You may think that you don’t have all the answers or know everything, but the truth is you don’t have to.  If you can even help people avoid some of the pitfalls you experienced it’s worth it.  But both the mentor and the mentee need to understand what area you are helping with as you can’t be an expert or experienced in everything.

In the last little while I’ve been helping mentor a couple of people on their careers and things they need to work on.  I may not have all the answers for my own life, but I can still help others and it gives me a chance to “pay forward” the mentoring that others gave to me.

Final Thoughts

So what do you think?  Do you need a mentor or can you mentor someone?  We all need help at some point.  We just need to learn how to ask and find the right person to help us.  Hopefully with a little help you can achieve your plan or even redefine it and change it if it needs it.

What Are We Doing? Why Are We Doing It? Will It Feel Better When We Stop?

Dec 29, 2010   //   by Rob Drysdale   //   Blog, Professional Development  //  9 Comments

These three little questions were on the board one day when we walked into our Signals and Systems class in our second year of university.  The class was all about applied mathematics related to control signals and systems and included some complex methods to solve the equations.  The concepts were tough and all of us struggled with it to the point that the average grade on the mid-term exam was 27%.  After the mid-term’s were graded, the professor started the next class with the three questions shown above.  His point was to get us to look at the big picture of what the class was about and why we were doing it and how it fit in with our courses overall.

imageOver the last little while I’ve seen a number of people talking about what they are working on right now, how busy they are, how much time they spend online, getting to Inbox Zero (yeah, as if I’ll ever get near that…) and a whole host of other things.  There are lots of theories and books including Getting Things Done, Priority Management, and First Things First.

These are all great for helping us get where we are going, but do we know where we are going?  In First Things First one of the key things is to actually come up with a plan and goals.  But I think we all slip up on this by doing the “Urgent – Important” and “Urgent – Not Important” things without putting aside any time for the big picture planning.  I know that it is too easy to let time slip away and continue to work on the daily/weekly/monthly things and go through life without a vision of where we want to be or the goals we want to achieve.

So here we are at the end of 2010 and as we think about the year and decade that is just ending, let’s look back at what we’ve done and achieved and how far we’ve come.  But don’t forget to look at what we want out of the next year, 5 years, 10 years and so on.  Then we can set the milestones that go with that and make sure that what we are doing is helping us to get where we want to be.  Otherwise we’ll be sitting here on December 29, 2011 wondering where the last year went….like I am on December 29, 2010.

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