When you hear the word innovation, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
If you’re like me, you probably think of well-known companies or brands like Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Samsung or Amazon, to name a few, who have large budgets to spend on innovation.
While these companies may be setting the benchmark for innovation in the world, we can use their successes to bring more innovation into our lives. Innovation should not be left to big businesses or brands only. We can all innovate at different levels in our lives.
What is Innovation?
I like to think of innovation as a bridge from what we currently have to what’s to come in the future. It’s about never settling for what’s already here, and continuously seeking to make things better.
As the saying goes, “Good, better, best… never let it rest, until the good is better, and the better is best.”
The companies that are leading in the twenty-first century are the ones that are continuously innovating. If we want to improve our lives consistently, then we must be willing to continuously innovate and take ourselves to higher and higher levels.
Everything we do in life is driven by our desire to experience certain emotions. At our core, we have a deep desire to be happy and feel positive emotions.
We go about acquiring those emotions in different ways. For some people, it may be having a successful career. For others, it may be being a great parent. For someone else, it may be doing charity or volunteer work.
As we go about our daily lives, it can be easy to lose our connection to the big picture about life. In the pursuit of what we believe will bring us happiness, we sometimes forget some simple or brutal truths about life.
We always need to keep sight of the important things in life and not let our busyness act as a mask for how we are living our lives.
For a long time, I believed that people resist change. Having learnt about and experienced dealing with change myself, there was some truth to that belief.
As I learned more about psychology and understanding people’s behaviours, I’ve now got a new perspective. One of my mentors teaches that people don’t necessarily resist change when it’s their choice.
What we resist is being changed. When we think about, we go through and deal with change daily. Consider some of the things we change daily.
- We change our clothes daily.
- We change what we eat most days.
- We change when and how we travel to places.
- We change our conversations daily.
- We change what we work on or do daily.
Going through change is not the issue. The real challenge is our association to change and what we tell ourselves about it.
There is a common misunderstanding that highly successful people only do things they want to do and the things they enjoy.
While doing only the things they enjoy may be the ideal scenario, the reality is they still have to do things they don’t necessary enjoy or want to, but have to.
Albert E. N. Gray, who wrote “The Common Denominator of Success,” said that successful people are successful because they form the habits of doing those things that failures don’t like to do.
Instead of focusing on what we don’t like about a particular task or activity, it’s more beneficial to turn it into a new habit so we don’t have to give a lot of conscious thought to it as we do it.
We all have things we’d prefer not to do and the longer we keep putting them off, the more likely we’ll start feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, unmotivated and unproductive.
The more things we can apply to make it easier for us to get these things done, the better state of mind we’ll be in and the better we’ll feel about ourselves.
The idea of automation isn’t anything new. Automation is an integral part of our lives and the more we use it, the easier it will make our lives.
What is Automation?
Automation is the use of systems to control processes, whereby reducing or eliminating the need for human intervention. Put simply, automation is having technology do things for us a lot quicker and easier, so we don’t have to do them ourselves.
From the time we wake up, automation via technology, plays an important part in our lives. A lot of activities in our homes are automated such as lighting, ventilation, heating, and home appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigeration.
In the business world, automation is often a key part of improvement and efficiency initiatives. These may include software programs and new equipment.
While there is always concern about having too much technology and the impact it will have on our overall lifestyle, it’s hard to argue automation does make our lives easier.
One of the key responsibilities of anyone in a leadership role is to ensure their team members are utilising their skills, strengths and abilities as best as they can.
When dealing with different personalities, a leader must be able to support people through difficult situations, which may include dealing with change, improving performance, and meeting deadlines or objectives.
Stress and anxiety is known to affect many people in the workplace. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in America revealed that around 18.1% of the US population suffered some form of anxiety at work, with 22.8% of those cases being classified as “severe.”
Stress is caused when we react to a current situation whereas anxiety is what we experience when we react to an imagined negative event in the future.
As leaders, we don’t want our team members to experience anxiety while they are working, and it’s up to us to be aware of the costs of dealing with anxiety and offer solutions to manage it.
We’re constantly dealing with demands in our personal and professional lives from the moment we wake up each day.
We have home demands such as dealing with family needs and getting prepared for work. We also have work demands, which include dealing with customers, team members and colleagues.
If we don’t protect ourselves or set proper boundaries, we can:
- Easily feel overwhelmed.
- Be pulled in many directions which may affect how we work.
- Take longer to complete things.
- Become emotionally drained.
- Perform below what we’re capable of.
What Does Setting Boundaries Mean?
- Saying “no” and knowing how to say it in the right context.
- Knowing when it’s time to work and when it’s not.
- Being clear about our priorities.
- Being able to communicate clearly to others and set the right expectations.
Learning to set healthy boundaries can save us time and help us be at our best more consistently.
There is a universal truth which states that we experience our greatest growth in life when we go beyond what we’re familiar and comfortable with.
As nothing stays the same over time and as things constantly evolve or change, if we’re not growing, that means we’re going backwards or dying.
The more we’re able to step outside what we’re comfortable with, the more growth we’ll experience. While intentionally challenging ourselves to take more risks is beneficial, we also do have to be mindful about being responsible and not putting ourselves at risk.
There is a difference between taking risks and being at risk. If we put ourselves at risk, where our basic needs in life are not met, then it’s highly unlikely we’ll be in the right frame of mind to be creative or overcome our challenges easily.
Being able to put ourselves in situations which we know will challenge us and cause us to grow has to become part of who we are and how we live.
Making myself exercise is a battle I have daily. Some days, I’m highly motivated, whereas on other days, I prefer to do something else instead of exercising.
Having gone through a period where I was not exercising consistently, which resulted in significant weight gain, I have now conditioned myself to do some form of physical activity daily.
It’s rare that I will miss a day, which may be because I have an appointment which requires me to leave home early. On those days, I do notice the difference in how I feel throughout the day.
There are various research and advice on when the best time is to exercise, how often should we exercise, how long we should exercise for, and what types of exercises we should do.
We should always get proper medical advice whenever we make any drastic changes to our exercise and diet plan. I personally prefer to exercise in the morning because I’m an early riser so in this article, I share my thoughts on why it’s best to exercise in the morning.
On the down side, not exercising at all can cause us to:
- Feel lethargic and not as motivated as we would like to be.
- Result in physical challenges.
- Not be at our best or do our best work.
- Have low levels of energy.
- Not feel good about ourselves.
The importance of doing some form of exercise or physical activity on a consistent basis cannot be emphasised enough.