It doesn’t matter if it’s good

I completed this LinkedIn Learning course from Seth Godin – ‘Creativity at work’ earlier this week.

In the ‘There’s no such thing as writer’s block’ video, Seth describes an exchange he had with Isaac Asimov, the science fiction author, who is responsible for writing over 400 books.

I repeat this section from the transcript:

“How do you come up with 400 published books? And he walked me over to this little manual typewriter in his office. And he said, here’s what I do. Every morning I sit here at 6:30 and I type until noon five and a half hours of typing and it doesn’t matter if it’s good. It doesn’t matter if it’s good. I simply type, and the magic of this is that if you’re sitting there typing and typing and typing, sooner or later your subconscious stops fighting with you. Sooner or later it says, well, if he’s going to make me type anyway, I might as well type something good. So no, there’s no such thing as writer’s block. What there is, is a fear of bad writing.

For me, who’s struggled with writing for this blog for a good many years, I’ve always thought that, well, people talk about writers’ block so I must have it. I had half-formed ideas I couldn’t articulate my thoughts fully to publish, days went by with no inspiration or enthusiasm to write anything, etc.

Perhaps what was actually happening is that I feared writing that just wasn’t any good. Perhaps I should just write, and see what happens?

I will, however, still strive to be authentic and relevant to the purpose or themes of this blog – education, learning, informative, leadership, technology.

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I want to be part of the solution, not just talk about it

Over the past few years, certain conversations tend to repeat themselves. Whether it’s about effective assessment strategies or a considered approach to implementing a new platform or technological solution, I want to help define the problem AND then be part of the solution. I want to see those conversations come to fruition AND to have made a difference.

What I don’t want is to talk and plan for a solution for nothing to be done. I know there are often good reasons why projects stall or take longer than planned or get dropped. But sometimes the idea or conversation about something is just that, a conversation. Whilst we may talk about development and implementation, about improving a system or process or ‘thing’, the appetite to see it through isn’t there. This is what frustrates me.

If the opportunity is available and there is a group willing to talk about the problem, to learn from prior mistakes or gaps in a process, for example, and you can come together and work out what can be done to not repeat or compound the mistakes by just carrying on as you always have done, and then don’t do anything about it? That’s the worst kind of mistake to make, and the one that makes me more frustrated than anything else.

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How to Use TextNotify and Customization

‘Text notify’ helps in showing a piece of information or text in pop-up. This plugin generates a text link which will have an “ID” that can be used in the component body to give a text link to open the pop up and show the relevant information. You can also customize the look and feel…

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What advice has made the most impact on you?

Nearing a large(ish) milestone birthday in the next year or so has meant I feel quite reflective at times, and I’ve been reflecting on two pieces of advice that I was given a long time ago that I still remember, and act on, to this day.

You don’t have to take the advice given to you, but sometimes it makes such a profound impact or is so important that it still shapes you and your actions many years later:

“There is always someone who will work better, cheaper, and more quickly than you”

My dad gave me this advice when I turned 18 and was looking at either going to university or getting a job. I chose to go to university, but I knew this would apply to any work I did – part-time bar work or the start of my career, or now decades later. No matter how hard you work there will always be someone coming up the ranks or watching you that can do the same work but better, or cheaper, or quicker.

The trick, my dad would later tell me, is to not give your boss an excuse to go looking for that person. Work hard, learn and grow in the role, be considerate of those around you and take those with you who want to come on the journey to ‘be better’. By wanting to grow, and by wanting to be better tomorrow than I am today, I will never be in a position where I am worried or threatened by that person who’s behind me who can do it better, cheaper, or more quickly. The journey I took to get here, to today, is what gives me infinitely more value to my friends or co-workers than the speed or efficiency they may get with someone quicker or cheaper.

I told this to someone a few years back who took it completely the wrong way – instead of seeing it as a motivating statement, which is what it is to me, they took it as “understand what the bare minimum is you can do before you are caught”. It can’t be further from the truth – it’s as much about confidence in yourself as it is about not worrying about others who may, or may not, be out to do you harm.

“Under promise, over achieve”

My first mentor was an entrepreneur and a very focused man. I learned so much from him, much of which still shape me today and I put it to good use in meetings and when I make decisions that affect me or my team. For me ‘under promise, over achieve’ means to understand what you are being asked and what you are capable of and to not overreach or over-promise. To miss a promise, either personally or professionally, will eventually let someone down, and I never knowingly put myself in a position where I have to let anyone down.

By ‘under promising’ on something also means I know my ability, I know the requirements and that I know what is needed, and that I can meet that. But it also means that I appreciate that sometimes unforeseen factors can play out and mean I am unable to complete on time. I still strive to complete whatever it is, and by ‘over achieving’ it means I can either complete it earlier than expected, use the time to fine-tune or improve on the work, or even use the time to enhance it with some new ideas.

Let me be clear, this isn’t (as someone thought, who I told this to a year or so back) about ‘ripping’ someone off and charging more for doing less, it’s about being upfront and honest about what you think is possible while still thinking and planning for what else you can do to make it something of real value to someone else.

Bonus – “Add value”

Again, one of the sayings from my mentor was “add value” – where can you add value? Whether you think about financial terms when you hear ‘value’ mentioned, or in ways how you can improve or help doesn’t matter, the value can be based around whatever your role is. You’re a manager, then the value you can add here is to give your team the tools and time to complete their tasks.

This piece of advice really follows on from the ‘under promise/over achieve’ advice – where can you add value. Is this directly to a project or product or activity, or indirectly by ensuring friends or colleagues have the tools or time to complete their tasks. Adding value can take all sorts of forms, and only you can know where you add value.

Then again, if you’re not adding value, what are you doing?

What about you – what advice were you been given that made an impact on you? And how?

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7 eLearning Development Tips for Health and Wellness Training

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, the absence of disease or infirmity.” Wellness is defined as “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups”. The words ‘health’ and ‘wellness’ are often used interchangeably. Wellness can be considered as a subjective matter, and for…

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Importance of Assessments in Online Training Program and Different Types of Assessments

In this blog, let us understand about importance of assessments and the different types of assessments that can be implemented in an eLearning program. Assessments is a key component to measure the effectiveness of an eLearning course and the competence of the learner. eLearning assessments is all about quality learning over quantity. The assessments activity…

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Space Invaders

No matter where I work, there are always space invaders.

In the office, someone will always come and hover behind my chair until I turn round and acknowledge/talk to them. Or someone will sit on the edge of the desk until you talk to them. Worse still is the person who comes and rearranges your desk to make room for them to perch on the edge, and then interrupt you. Perhaps the worst space invader in the office is the person who will start talking to you when they’re still 15ft away, and somehow you’re supposed to know it’s directed at you when there are another 5 people between you.

If you’re lucky enough (?) to have your own office, the space invader will be the one to walk in and start talking, irrespective of what you’re doing. Or even if the door is closed. Or if you are already meeting with someone or on the phone. This interruption is also with the apology of ‘sorry to interrupt … ‘ and will then keep on talking.

Even at home, there’s the space invader here too – kids are the best/worst at this. They need to put something on or take it off charge, in they come to use my charger (despite setting up a ‘charging station’ somewhere else). Interruptions (especially in the school holidays) can be as simple as an argument somewhere in the house (usually right outside my door) or they storm in while I’m on a call and I need to sort it. Vacuuming is a regular interruption, as are random questions about other family matters. At least no one has come and hovered behind my chair or sat on the desk waiting for me to acknowledge their presence. Yet.

But you know what, I don’t mind my family interrupting me … I’m at home, in their space, working. First and foremost it is our home, and they have just as much right (if not more) to use the space as I do. The one thing I have always made extra sure of is that my work at home does not impact the home, either in terms of space, but also in terms of how active or noisy they can be.

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Key Points In Designing The Scientific Training Modules – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

You might have created quite a bunch of eLearning training modules in various domains. But, developing scientific training modules is altogether a different ball game. The very approach of teaching subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics takes a new dimension, requiring the content developers to pay attention on various important things. In most cases, science…

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Tips to Transform your Certificate Training Programs into eLearning Courses

In this blog, let us first look at the benefits of transforming instructor led, certificate training programs into eLearning courses. Certificate training programs have been quite popular, time and again. There was a time when instructor-led, classroom certificate training programs were much popular at graduation level as well as in numerous professions. Certificate training programs…

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Tips to Convert Soft Skills Training Material to eLearning Programs

In this blog, let us discuss some important tips to Convert Soft Skills Training Material to eLearning programs. Perhaps ‘soft skills training’ is the one program which almost every company has been undertaking for decades. Companies look at soft skills training as an exercise which is much beneficial both to its employees as well as…

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