Judicious and tasteful intelligentsia who have gone to my mission page will note that one of my objectives is to “perform with a view to achieving meaningful outcomes, through excellent personal performance and the pursuit of ever higher standards”, which is something we all tend do when it comes to our working lives if we want to keep our job, or get promoted or a pay rise. One thing came to mind when I wrote that.

The first is that although we do exactly that ‘at work’ and therefore ‘when we are being paid’ – or when it is a hobby that engages us – we all have a tendency, at knocking off time, to not just knock off our work. In addition to ‘knocking off’, we kick off our shoes and metaphorically kick off our standards.

Of course, my own favourite example is demonstrated by the fact that in work we have to be focused and direct and we have to perform. Then most people walk out of the door, sit in their armchair, lean on the window sill, and with one finger steer a ton of metal at up to 80mph surrounded by other lazy bast4rds doing the same, ALL of them expecting the OTHERS to perform at a high level of skill while we, ourselves, just chill.

My favourite question in IAM lectures is this – what if you were en route to Ibiza and you looked into the aircraft cockpit to see the Captain with his feet on the dashboard, finger on the controls and gabbing on his mobile phone? Of course, HIS standards have to be complied with, while your own are negotiable.

(Don’t get me started on speech patterns, poor grammar and dress codes.)

Read closely: Your own standards are, or are seen to be, a reflection of how you see yourselves and, like it or not in the PC world we live in, they reflect how others perceive you.

I am amused by the directive that we should not stereotype people, when I see an adherent to the Green agenda with lank hair, ill-fitting clothes and a weather-ravaged persona. The same goes for pop stars (scruffy and unkempt but after a LOT of effort to look that way), young bankers (shiny suit, skinny tie, brown pointy shoes), ex-Army officers (country-gent shirt, moleskin trousers), women seeking ‘natural beauty’ and ‘gender respect’  (while paying hundreds to look like the wastrels from the US reality show whose name I will not type), and so on.

We stereotype OURSELVES.

Which brings me to self-leadership. Self-leadership means creating your own high standards and complying with them – not blindly following somebody else’s. It means deciding that you are one congruent individual all of the time, not a ‘professional’ 9-5 and a scruffy tw4t after work. It means acknowledging and accepting that certain standards benefit us all, and complying with them for the good of everyone.

(And acknowledging that the risky overtake or lane change on a roundabout that might have killed you just saved you the time it takes to unplug your phone charger when you arrive at work and try to park in your desk space. It didn’t even save the waiting time for the lift.)

Raise your standards and then strive towards keeping them. (No, it is not easy. Try anyway.)


100-Day Challenge, Day 2.

Yesterday went well. I started running again without injury, further than I expected given the time I have had off. I didn’t have lunch, although that was more by accident than design. And I did everything on my task list and still had time to relax. It is now 1030am and I am well into today’s list, too.

I have discovered a new approach to my planning, using the FranklinCovey 7 Habits Daily Planning System.

As you can to see, the prioritised daily task section on the left is divided into three headings. I guess it is so designed to allow people to separate work, personal and ‘other’ tasks.

I use it to divide the list into The Three Resolutions headings. Top section is the disciplines (mainly physical); the central section involves character and competence e.g. studying, exercising the mind, becoming better; and the lower section is a list of the services I provide. But as my book says, doing all these things serves improving in all three areas – the more disciplined I am, the better my character and the greater levels of service I can provide. The more organised I am about planning, the more time and better attitude I have towards the disciplines. And so on.

That’s m’new method. Let us see if it works as well as I hope.