One talent or many?

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There’s an argument that if we specialise in a single field, or career, we have a better chance of digging in, making our logical way up the food chain – possibly to the top, if that’s where we want to be.

Like a ladder the steps to our progression are linear.

The other school of thought is that a portfolio approach to work gives us more opportunities especially when markets duck and dive.

Like a Swiss Army knife we pull out the required skills du jour, showing flexibility, range, resourcefulness.

One practice doesn’t necessarily discount the other. Both ladders and Swiss Army knives come in handy whether we’re a single field expert, or a portfolio professional. Though it depends on our individual motivation as to which we prefer or which we excel at.

A portfolio approach has suited me best in the 30 years of my career to date. Individually motivated by variety, new challenges over and over, change, creative processes, and working closely with all kinds of people, from diverse industries and sectors, I have a treasure chest full of pearls to share. There’s plenty to go round.

  © Amanda Yensa Manor 2015

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A mother’s motivation

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To the mothers who work tirelessly bearing, raising, loving, supporting, mentoring children, let today, Mother’s Day (in the UK) be a tribute to our ceaseless motivation to make sure our offspring have the best chance at success and happiness in their lives.

  © Amanda Yensa Manor 2015

5 advantages of a good mentor

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A mentor may bring a number of advantages to our personal or professional development. Here are five to remember, when considering one for yourself or organisation.

1. FRESH EYES

None of us are immune to being stuck, confused or held back at various stages in our work life. A good mentor brings fresh eyes to the situation, looks at it from different angles, explores new vantage points to open up possibilities and simplify choices.

2. BIG EARS

Sometimes all we need is an understanding ear to listen to us. A good mentor has big ears all the better to hear us with, and validate our burning issues that we must air if we are to progress.

3. STRONG KNOWS

Our knowledge is collated from experience, learning, set-backs, successes and it comes in all shapes and sizes. A good mentor knows a huge amount about people, problems, processes, in given fields of expertise, and is prepared to impart it, personally and professionally.

4. SOUND VOICE

Despite our impressive abilities to communicate via multiple channels and platforms, using empowering technologies, the sound of a voice reminds us we’re human. A good mentor creates opportunities to speak face to face, on the phone, via skype for sound guidance and feedback to be expressed clearly, and directly.

5. LIGHT TOUCH

We are required to toughen up, win the day, produce results, and though these practices have merit in some circumstances, we neglect the part of us that needs encouraging. A good mentor has a light touch – not a bootcamp approach – to bring out the best qualities in individuals, groups, and organisations.

For more insight contact us at yensamentors@gmail.com

© Amanda Yensa Manor 2015

Confidence in bloom

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Every year the crocus pushes confidently through blankets of grass to remind us there’s life, colour and vibrancy beneath the Earth, ready to bloom. Much like our own natures, often hidden under layers of uncertainty and self-doubt, they need the right conditions to emerge fully.

Confidence is a quality that can be innate, however for many of us, it’s a characteristic that needs conscious attention for it to work in our favour.

Defined one way as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities”, it clearly has a lot riding on our emotional strength [feeling of self-assurance] and on our analytical acumen [one’s appreciation of…]. A tall order when you break it down.

Let’s break it down then.

First it makes sense to establish what ‘one’s own abilities or qualities’ are. We all have them, though perhaps they are hidden, underused, or simply not talked about in glowing terms. An ability may be a skill, an achievement, experience, knowledge, ideas – it can be small or epic. If we make a list of our abilities, we can gather the facts. Same with our qualities. If we look hard, and pick out the qualities people like in us, or that we like about ourselves, we can list these too. Best leave out the lesser attractive qualities we possibly carry, this exercise is about finding ‘one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities’.

Always start with the good stuff. It brings us up. Makes us more confident.

Now we have a list of our abilities and positive qualities. Unarguably, there’s substance. Hard to ignore it. Next step is to locate our appreciation of the items listed. If self-appreciation is hard to muster, then think of others who’ve been thankful, inspired, pleased, or complimentary of said abilities or qualities. Write down how much these people appreciate them. This typically starts to feel good, knowing other people (even in small ways) appreciate us for our own abilities and qualities.

If they can appreciate us, we can appreciate ourselves too.

We are beginning to appreciate our own abilities and qualities, because we’ve listed them, and identified how other people appreciate them, now we come to the ‘feeling of self-assurance’.

Feelings are subjective, volatile, emotional… and powerful tools if we understand their value.

If we wish, and practice, we can master feelings to serve us well. A feeling of self-assurance is an ambitious one. However, with evidence of our listed abilities, qualities and a growing sense of how we and others appreciate these, our feelings on the matter are likely to mirror the facts. Try it.

In addition, the technique of positive self-talk is widely recognised as hugely effective for our confidence and self-assurance.

Speaking our appreciation of our abilities and qualities out loud (preferably to an empty room) is a sure fire way to imbue feelings of self-assurance. Keep repeating in a confident voice, till you start to feel ‘self-assurance rising’

Example

“I am doing a great job on this, and am confident my abilities are helping me achieve a better result/a happier outcome”

Be confident. We all have it in us to be so.

Reduce or expand?

7zURrYhKcxCP2AjlGguxlBM2k5KFifqCfbeIYDUsje8Are we a blank canvas to paint on expansively?

Or a lump of stone to carve in masterfully?

A work from scratch, or a work emerging from a reductive process?

Which ever we are, the starting point is the same. We have certain raw materials at our fingertips to work with. A brush, a canvas, a palette, paint… A mallet, a chisel, a pencil, stone. Add the ideas, ambition, desire to create a masterpiece, perhaps, and we’re on our way to a fulfilling experience.

In the case of personal and professional development, the raw materials may be skills, experience, circumstances, life stage – all at our fingertips to work with. However before we become accomplished artists of our own work life, there’s a learning process. How to best use techniques, tools and understand what it take to realise the vision, the idea, the ambition, the fulfilment.

We see mentoring as akin to apprentice artists working with a master whose aim is to inspire, teach and pass on what they know. Till such time the apprentice becomes the master, ready to take on their own apprentices.