Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

Morning everyone.
I was going through some thoughts in my mind and I felt a need to share it with you.

From my experience, life can present some topsy-turvy moments. At times like this, there is a tendency for one’s belief in one’s self to take a knock-out blow.
One starts to question everything; from who one is, to why one hasn’t achieved all that one desires to achieve.
You start to wonder why you can’t be a bit more like A or B who is doing a whole lot better than you. You even start to think that maybe something’s seriously wrong with you or that life has made up it’s mind to forever frown at you.

Here are my thoughts on that:
1. No one is created better than you.
2. Everyone has something to offer.
3. That you haven’t found your ‘rhythm’ does not mean you do not have any.
4. It’s not about what you do not have, it’s all about what you do with what you acknowledge you have.

Life occurs in cycles. When you find yourself in the challenging part of that cycle, your greatest source of strength will be what you believe about yourself.
Focus on discovering what you have. When you find it;
– Acknowledge it,
– Stir it up and
– Do something with it.

A person who believes in himself/herself has the main ‘equipment’ needed for increase and fulfilment.

You’re blessed not because you have more. You are blessed because of what you do with what you have.

Keep believing in you;
Belinda.

What is Right

What is Right

A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

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We can’t take out the epitome of moral conduct and expect to have a sane, moral and safe society.

We focus so much on rights and pay little or no attention to what is right. A society does not flourish because it’s inhabitants know and fight for their rights. It flourishes because it’s inhabitants know what is right and they do it.

When a nation or an establishment constantly meets to devise new laws, it is a sign that something’s not quite right.

Morality has probably left the building!

 

Lead right and Live light;​

Belinda O-Ujani

How to Take Advantage of Opportunities

How to Take Advantage of Opportunities

I was driving to my children’s school to pick them up one afternoon. I had left the house a few minutes later than usual so I was kind of in a hurry to make up for lost time. I then made a quick decision to take a route with no traffic lights. It wasn’t a very long road so I still had to come out of it to join the main road at some point. As I got to the end of my no-traffic-light road, I had to wait behind the double white line until a kind-hearted driver allowed me to join the slowly growing queue of cars. I had my attention so focused on ‘catching’ the eye of the next driver to see if he/she would allow me enter the road (I wear glasses, so I had to focus more), so much so that I forgot to move my gear stick from 3 to 1. Suddenly someone stopped and boy was I glad. I looked on to ‘catch’ his eye, just to be sure he’d really let me go. As soon as I ‘caught’ his eye, he gave me a nod and a wave of hand to let me know that I could go in front of him.

The moment I stepped on the gas to go, the car jerked. I quickly looked down the gear and realised I was still on gear 3 instead of 1. Almost immediately, the car stopped and I felt a bit silly. Here was the kind hearted driver I had been hoping would turn up and allow me cut in front of him and here I was not able to move because I had broken the first basic rule of moving: preparation.

So there I was a bit flushed and embarrassed that my car had stopped. I could imagine him thinking: “move it woman! I haven’t got all day”. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had moved and blocked me from entering to be honest. He did the decent thing by waiting and it was me who didn’t take advantage of that window of opportunity.

You could argue that it was no big deal for him to wait but it wasn’t just himself and myself that were involved in this situation, there were other cars behind him. These other cars could have noisily honked their horn for him in frustration. Plus, who knows what emergencies one or more of those cars might need to get to.

Anyway, I started my car quickly and thankfully; he waited. I moved noisily as I pressed hard on my accelerator because I didn’t want any excuse for the car to go off. Once I took my place on the line with other drivers, I signalled to express my gratitude to the driver who let me in.

This kind of scenario is not uncommon in our everyday life. At home, business, school and really…life in general; there are windows of opportunities that present themselves to us at different times. These windows of opportunities sadly only stay open for a short time, long enough for us to take advantage of it before it passes. Some of these windows require you to get in and move along with the flow. While others require you to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Whatever form the opportunity might take, one thing is paramount: be prepared.

In this traffic case, I was lucky to have someone patiently wait for me to get my act together. In life issues however, one might not get that chance. Once you figure out what it is you want to do or achieve, don’t wait until the opportunity presents itself before you get prepared because you most likely will get passed. Make sure that you get your act together by preparing yourself before hand for when that opportunity presents itself.

If you’ve ever wondered why some people just sometimes seem to get all the good openings, preparation is probably why. These seemingly ‘fairy-dust-covered’ people have prepared ahead of time and all they are waiting for, is for that window of opportunity to open so that they can readily leap in.

As you begin to tidy up all loose ends and review this passing year, spare some thoughts for the coming year. Start thinking about what you’d want to accomplish in the coming year and start making plans for yourself and for your environment.

I strongly advice that you do this one thing towards your growth and success for the coming year: make preparation a key thing.

“Opportunities will come, they always do but you can only recognise it and take advantage of it if you have prepared yourself for its arrival”.

 

Stay Blessed and Prepared.

 

Belinda

Time for Change

Time for Change

Good morning to you all. I believe you had a good weekend, well I did (in case you wanted to know) really busy but good.

I’d like to share something with you today that I’ve noticed for some time now.  There seems to be a shift happening in different organisations. I don’t know if it has to do with the year coming to an end or not but whatever the case is, I can sense a shift and a need for change happening in various organisations. I perceive a yearning for something more (from the leaders and team members) and a readiness and willingness from the leaders to take their teams to the next level.

With this yearning comes a need for change.

Some leaders might be experiencing some challenging times like: a decline in commitment, enthusiasm, growth, development, etc., of team members/employees. Or maybe a decrease in the number of team members/employees as a result of relocation, retirement, new births, losses, incompetence or plain old “I’ve had enough of this job”. Other leaders might just be ‘sailing’ smoothly at this time with no challenge whatsoever. Whatever the case may be, realize that change will always happen. Challenges will always come and so will good times. Team members  will always come and they will also leave; some with valid reasons and others with not so valid reasons.

As a leader who is currently facing challenges and understands the need for change; this is the time for restructuring. A time to implement new things, a time for reinvention. It is not a time to sit, wallow and yank out your hair unproductively but a time to take stock of the journey so far and do something to make the journey ahead productive.

The simple solution is a change: a change in the way things are currently done, a change in expectations and above all, a change in  attitudes and perceptions (both team members/employees and leaders). Change is one thing that is bound to happen whether we want it to or not, we may not like it or even respond well to it but that will not stop it from occurring.

If you need to hire professional help for this (which I strongly advice) then do so because an outside perspective might be all you need, more so if its from a professional.

Below are some steps to follow, to turn your challenging times to times of productivity:

1. Revisit the vision of your establishment.

2. Review the mission of your establishment.

3. Identify where your team/organisation is at the moment.

4. Identify what the next level is and what needs to be done to get to the next level.

5. Review the policies, procedures, rules, regulations and adjust them accordingly to fit with the updated mission and vision.

6. Make provision for continuous development for yourself and your team.

7. Have a structure in place for how your organisation/team should function.

8. Communicate all changes to your team effectively and start implementing them.

9. Seek ongoing support and help from a mentor, coach, consultant, etc.

These are the foundational steps you should follow to turn your current unproductive situation around; and please, remember to ask for help and support as you go on (you’ll need it).

When it seems like the challenges just seem to be mounting, it’s time to create (or recreate as the case may be); it’s time for change. When people walk away, don’t sink into despair. Pull yourself together and focus on those you have left; those who have remained with you. They are probably still there because they have some passion and loyalty left; work with that. Make use of those resources you currently have, it might seem like it’s not enough but trust me; its just enough to get you to the next level.

 

To your higher level of success;

Belinda

Productivity Decline? Try this…

Productivity Decline? Try this…

Have you been experiencing dry spells recently? Does it seem like your creativity is slowly deteriorating? Is it becoming increasingly difficult to reproduce previous successes? Are the results you’re producing desired results or more of a hit and miss? Do you feel tired all the time? frustrated? stuck? ineffective or even empty? If you find yourself in one or more of these situations–or any other closely related situation–then you my friend, are in a period of drought.
What exactly do I mean by a drought?
I’m talking about a period of dryness. A time when nothing substantial is happening. An interval devoid of excitement. Tiny moments that slowly add up to a rather large space in time when nothing tangible or profitable has been achieved. I’m referring to nothingness. I’m talking about a period of No-Flow; a period where nothing seems to flow through you. A time characterised by little, insignificant movements. Times of not good, not bad, just…nothing.
For those of you leaders who cultivate your creativity for different productive purposes, you most certainly understand what I’m talking about. My guess is that you’ve had periods when your creative juices just didn’t seem to flow as they normally would. Or maybe you’ve had periods characterised by disengagement or disconnection from the things you’d normally be happy doing.

When these situations arise, what do you do?
How do you get your drive back?
How do you carry on being productive?
My answer? Here it is:
1. Time-out
2. Time-out
3. Time-out

Time-out is my answer to getting your energy/mojo/drive–or whatever else you choose to call it–back and I’ve written it 3 times to make sure you don’t miss it.
You need some time away, end of. Whether it be from the desk, the laptop, the tablet, the meeting room, the writing table, the brain storming sessions, the classroom, the baby cot, the kitchen, the pulpit, the lecture room, the laboratory, the theatre, etc., you need to take T-I-M-E – O-U-T! There is no getting round this one if you want to function well, retain your sanity and stay productive.
Your time-out should be a period to rest, refuel or reconnect; or maybe all three.
No one ever remains productive without taking out time to rest and be refreshed. The reason you’re irate, frustrated, experiencing a mental block or being a right ol’ pain in the back side is probably because you’ve not had any time-out recently.
When you notice that the things which used to give you joy and cause you to experience fulfillment now make you angry or frustrate you; it’s probably time for a time-out. Your creative mind will only function well when the principle of time-out and common sense is applied.

As the year draws to a close, evaluate yourself and figure out if you’re due a time-out. Maybe you need a rest; then schedule some time to do so and arrange for someone to cover your duties.
Maybe you need to refuel; then find people who are achieving the kind of things you want to achieve and receive valuable knowledge from them.
Maybe you need to reconnect; then dig deep and stir up that passion that motivated you to land a role as CEO, manager, team leader, mother, father, teacher, entrepreneur, doctor, author, accountant, minister, coach, mentor, consultant, artist, chef, etc.
If you need to join a network, association or support group to help you refuel and reconnect; then do so. If you need to take a course, be mentored or coached; then please do so.
Don’t let your self go to waste by becoming unproductive. Don’t buy your own narrow narrative of being stale.
The problem is not with your passion, your purpose or even you per se; the problem is that you’re drained.
And here’s the solution: take T-I-M-E O-U-T.

 

Lead right and Live light;

 

Belinda

3 Characteristics of a Highly Productive Team

3 Characteristics of a Highly Productive Team

How many times have you looked at another team in another establishment or even within the same environment and wondered why your own team could not just be as productive as them? Maybe you’ve even gone and sought counsel from a flourishing colleague to find out what he/she is doing to achieve such great results but you’ve come back feeling that your colleague is holding back on some valuable information.

Nothing can be so frustrating for a leader than having a team that is unproductive. An unproductive team can have a ripple effect on an establishment as a whole never mind the affected department. It’s effects are huge and can lead to financial and intellectual decline within an establishment.

What we ‘see’ as productivity when it comes to teams can be broken down to mean: when team members give you their best and the outcome is of greater or equal value to their input. On the other hand, when a team is unproductive it can be broken down to mean: when team members give you their ‘left over crumbs’ and the outcome is much less or of equal value to their input. Now when I say ‘left over crumbs’ I don’t just mean what is remaining from a certain amount of whatever resources they have. What I mean is the broken fragments of whatever they have left, after they have used up their resources somewhere else or for something else. Notice that an unproductive team does have resources (contrary to what you might think), the only problem why those resources are not being invested in your establishment is because they are giving you the broken pieces of what they have left after they’ve exhausted it elsewhere.

What every leader should be concerned about is not to find more team members externally who have more skills and abilities. Leaders should focus more on getting their existing team members to give their best to the establishment. Doing this will save establishments a lot of time and money.

I have put together 3 main characteristics of a highly productive team. I’ll also give you some brief insights on steering your team towards high productivity further down this post.

The 3 main characteristics of a highly productive team.

  1. Passion: team members who give their best have a genuine passion for what they do and this is why their approach to their job is very different. They are willing to sacrifice–within reason–in order to achieve team and organisational growth. They are also focused on achieving good results and remaining productive.
  2. Investment: team members who give their best are known for their investment qualities. Their investment of time, skills, ideas, effort, support and sometimes money. They give because they understand the importance of the outcome and they know what role their input plays in the scheme of things.
  3. Motivation: a lack of motivation is like ‘spanner in the works’ for any establishment. Teams who give their best are usually known for their level of motivation which keeps them active, innovative and productive.
Insights to help you steer your team members towards high productivity.
People usually take on job roles for three main reasons: if they are passionate about your cause, if they are passionate about what they do, or if they are happy with what they’ll get in return for their input. Shockingly, a lot of team members these days have no passion for their jobs. Hence, the decline in team members who give their best. If a team member has no passion in the cause of their establishment or for what he/she does, it’s only a matter of time before such a team member starts giving ‘leftover crumbs’ rather than his/her best. If you are in the process of recruiting, look for passionate individuals. If your team members seem to have lost their passion for your cause or for what they do, take necessary measures to help them back up. If you’ve genuinely done all you can to encourage a team member to stir up his/her passion and it’s still not working then remember that it’s better to release people rather than keep them trapped.
Team members stay committed and engaged when they feel like they are regarded and treated as partners of the establishment where they work. Partnership could be in terms of building good relationships, making shares available for them to purchase, involving them in certain strategic planning, creating opportunities for them to contribute ideas towards the advancement of the establishment, etc.; it doesn’t have to be overly dramatic, keep it simple but inclusive.
In as much as passion gets the productivity ball rolling, motivation is what will keep the ball rolling. It is a common truth that nobody works for free (this has nothing to do with being selfish). The return on one’s input does not have to be in monetary value in order for one to feel rewarded. The return could be in terms of: recognition, exposure, experience, fulfillment, referrals, development, etc.; the undeniable truth is that we all feel motivated to give our best when we know that we’ll get a satisfactory return on whatever input we have made, monetary or not. Highly productive teams are known to be motivated individuals who are catered for in terms of rewards and/or incentives.

Until next time, continue to
Lead right and Live light
Belinda
Wealth Loss: How it Affects You and How to Avoid it

Wealth Loss: How it Affects You and How to Avoid it

Our quest to find and secure wealth is an age-long one and rightly so because wealth sustains us and gives substance to the relationship we have with our environment. No doubt this quest involves inventive skills, resourcefulness, a creative imagination, endurance and challenges; but this has not stood in the way of our ability to acquire and store up wealth.

Wealth is a very important element of life and it plays a significant role in what I call the three levels of living which are: Survival, Success and Significance. In as much as it is important to acquire it, the benefit of it can only be fully appreciated when it is kept safe.

How wealth loss affects you.

Wealth loss can affect your physical and mental state. It has the potential to cause a destabilization and a decline in function. It can also result in termination of operations and functions; and this can be excruciating. The feelings associated with wealth loss are numerous yet individual. Someone described it  like this: “it feels as though external objects are closing up on you to suffocate you”. Another person described it this way: “it feels like somebody is viciously tugging at your vital organs with the intention of ripping them out”. And yet another: “your whole life flashes before you and you feel like it’s all over”. For those of you who have lost excess wealth and it has left you down and out, I’m sure you can relate to this to a certain extent.

4 simple ways to avoid excessive wealth loss:

  • Spend Sensibly.

Spending can significantly increase wealth loss. Our human and organisational needs give us lots of genuine reasons to spend. If done carelessly and/or mindlessly, it will be at the expense of ample wealth loss in a rather short period of time.

  • Seek out cover.

Set up an arrangement, system or agreement that protects your wealth from unnecessary loss. Take it a step further and also set up something that protects you from running into more loss if you have already lost something substantial.

  • Stay calm.

When you are under pressure, making the best decisions might be far-fetched. As difficult as it might be, try to stay calm mentally so that you do not make inappropriate decisions triggered by erratic emotions.

  • Keep it Simple.

Try not to complicate your affairs. Keep things simple and clear so that it is easy to understand and interpret. Doing this will give you immunity from the tight constraint of austerity.

Until next time, continue to;

Lead right and Live light

Belinda

The Leadership Test: Genuine or Adulterated?

The Leadership Test: Genuine or Adulterated?

Tests are a part of life and are not unique to just leaders.

You go out everyday and other road users just push your buttons: the traffic lights change abruptly, the other driver cuts you off and even has the guts to swear at you, the passenger next to you on the bus/train just wouldn’t stop yapping at the top of his voice, the lady with the double buggy blocks the door way and is just chatting away mindlessly on the phone. You parent your kids and your sanity is sometimes dangling on a thread: there’s water on the floor of the kitchen and no one admits to doing it or attempts to clean it up, there’s wall art on your freshly painted wall and your three-year old happily drags you there to show you her creative design, your house smells really lovely and familiar only for you to get to your room and find your adorable son standing in front of your dressing table with now empty bottles of your perfumes and an apologetic look on his face. You work with colleagues and you wonder why everyone just has to get on your nerves: your team is lagging behind on the project, you’ve just been summoned because of a false allegation, you are constantly being micro managed as a team leader and it’s getting more and more frustrating. You reckon everyone else has got it in for you so you find a way to squeeze in that ‘me time’ for yourself; but even then, you find out that your own thoughts have it in for you too.

Ever so often our patience, character, identity, loyalty, etc., is tested. Because of who we are and the roles we occupy, we are constantly tested–consciously or unconsciously. These tests are real life scenarios that acts as indicators to our growth and development levels. They draw unmistakable lines between who we were, who we are and who we are becoming. They determine how genuine or adulterated we are in terms of our relationship with ourselves and with others.

Every leader’s presence, quality, ability, intelligence, skill, character, capacity and resilience will be tested before and during his/her existence as a leader. You’ll be constantly tested in 3 main areas at almost every point of your leadership journey and these areas are:

  1. Provision. Needs and wants are common features of demand and your position enables you to play a significant role in offering supply to these two features. Your tests in this area tend towards how you use your position to either get what you want or to supply what is needed. You need to realise that it is not just about satisfying your ‘appetite’, it’s mostly about sustaining your existence. Don’t be too hasty to get what you want at all cost, only for you to end up begging for what you need.
  2. Protection. The importance of your reputation as a leader cannot be over-emphasised. You do need to protect yourself but at what cost? and what exactly are you protecting and from what? Are you willing to bring someone else down in order to protect yourself? Do you constantly control everything just to drive home the point that you are in charge?
  3. Power. You’ve probably heard of such a term as : ‘power drunk’. Leaders are at risk especially of using their position to cripple others. With leadership comes authority and power no doubt; but not in the way it is sometimes used ( I explained power and authority in my book: Leadership Maxims…sound principles for leadership excellence). Your role is not a tool for tyranny or assault, neither is it a vehicle for the deception of others into blind and selfish submission.

Every now and again you’ll be tested in these 3 areas and what you discover will help you realise who you really are; whether you are an authentic leader or an adulterated leader.

Until next time, continue to;

Lead right and Live light

Belinda

The Investment Dilema

The Investment Dilema

Investments are a necessity for Survival, Success and Significance (I like to refer to these 3 S’s as the three levels of living). There’s an age old saying that goes thus: “the time to plant, and the time to harvest that which has been planted will never cease”. Nothing could be more true!

As long as we remain alive on this earth, there will be investments made and there will be returns on investments made; that is the cycle of life and it is what keeps it going. Last week, I talked about how investment is the reason why we hurt so much when we suffer loss and it’s true. An investment of your time, resources and effort towards a person or a cause is what makes you hurt so much when you lose him/her/it and this is because you have poured out of what you are into that person or cause. You have planted a seed and now you have no harvest to gather; you’re in deficit (I guess that’s why it’s called loss by the way…hmm) and trust me, that hurts like…

Point to note: The level of investment made determines your level of connection to that person or cause; and this is what sets the level on your ‘pain-o-meter’ when the loss occurs.

Just like the food example I gave last week, you cannot decide to stop investing in life simply because you fear what might happen if you reap loss. A farmer who decides not to plant or rear livestock because he/she fears that he/she will suffer loss can hardly be called a farmer. Not only will such a farmer struggle to survive but he/she will also never succeed and will never get the fulfillment of living a life of true significance.

Survival, Success and Significance are the three levels of living that apply not only to leaders but to every individual alive; and in order for us to experience a well-rounded life on these three levels, investment is a must. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose but we cannot afford not to invest because of the fear that we might lose some. A farmer knows that not all the seeds he/she plants in one season will produce a bountiful harvest but that does not stop him/her from diligently planting from one season to the next. The only reason he/she is called a farmer is because of the regular investments made. The only reason you are who you claim to be or who your role defines you as; is because of your investments. A director, a manager, a mother, a farmer, a teacher, a father, a pastor, you name it; all of these roles exist because of the investments made on a regular basis.

Loss should not stop you from constantly investing, neither should disappointments nor rejection; for when you stop investing in any area of your life, you stop any chance of reaping a harvest in that area of your life. You might not have all you want right now or you might have lost someone or something of great importance to you. Whatever the case might be, you still have seeds to sow, you’re never at that point where you cannot invest something. Whatever position you are in right now is an opportunity to invest. Invest in: your business, your spouse, your children, your mentees, your team members, your congregation, your clients, your customers, your students, etc., and keep the cycle of life going. The seeds you sow today will be your abundant harvest tomorrow. In order words, the investments you make today, will be the profits you enjoy tomorrow.

Now that you know this about investment, you can either choose to cower in fear, refuse to invest and live a frustrating mediocre life; or you can step out in courage, consistently invest and predominantly enjoy a successful and meaningful life. The choice is yours!!!

Until next time, continue to

Lead right and Live light

Belinda

A Valuable Resource

A Valuable Resource

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Great news!
My book is now available for purchase as an e-book on amazon and I’m really thrilled about it.

This book is aimed at real and practical leaders at all levels who have a regard for leadership and the purpose that it serves. The truths and principles in this book are an indispensable resource for any leader who wants to have a sound life, an efficient team and a thriving organisation.

There are also a few words of wisdom for team members who want to increase their worth and value; and also enjoy steady progressions in their career.

Head over to amazon now to download yours and one or more for friends, family and/or colleagues. Click here.

Leaders deserve a sound life. Organisations flourish with sound leaders. Communities enjoy progress with relevant, successful organisations/businesses/institutions. Do your bit to encourage improvement and advancement in your environment; spread the word about Leadership Maxims!

Yours truly,

Belinda (Author of Leadership Maxims … Sound Principles for Leadership Excellence)