Of course I'm an avid supporter of the Open University - I did my MBA at their Business School in the late 90's and have worked closely with them ever since. So I was delighted to read in the Independent yesterday (5 Dec 2006) that they are partnering the Trades Union Congress to provide a 10 per cent discount on entry-level university courses for TUC' members, all 6.4 million of them.
This is a fantastic opportunity to start your own personal development. Of course, balancing work life and studying can be pretty tough (I'd rather not be reminded of that now so you'll have to ask Jenny) especially if you also want to have some time for a social / family life, however, it also seems to be true that there is rarely any gain without pain (I wonder who really said that). Incidentally, one of the ways I got through my studies was to think 'If other people can do it, so can I'.
So, how can you motivate yourself to get started on what could in all likelihood be a life changing course of action? (....There are some truths to "Educating Rita").
A top tip, tried and tested by many of our coaching clients, is to visualise the outcome . Visualisation isn't a new technique, you probably do it frequently already although you may not be very aware that you do it. So for example if I ask you to think about what you had for breakfast this morning, or who your best friend was at school, the chances are that you'll remember this by creating a picture in your head.
So how can you visualise your goal? Well, you can do this in a number of ways: in your head by relaxing and mentally creating a picture of your outcome, you can get out your kid's crayons/felt tips/paints and start drawing, you can use the whiteboard or a flipchart in an empty meeting room, or put those magazines to good use by cutting out the photos which appeal to your senses and make a collage out of them.
Choose whichever method which appeals to you, put aside a good 45 minutes and as you're going through this creative exercise, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What it is that I want? Think about this in as much detail as you can.
Then imagine yourself having achieved this goal. Ask yourself:
2. When and where have I achieved this goal, and who is with me?
3. What has changed in my life as a result of achieving this goal?
4. What is my experience of having achieved this goal?
5. What has achieving this goal got me?
If you have plenty of time to spare, just go with the flow; you'll be surprised what springs from your imagination once you give it a free rein.
Once you're happy with the image you've created, spend 10-15 minutes reflecting on it. In our future blogs we'll explore practical ways to use visualisations to achieve goals.
Whichever visualisation technique you use, it will help you see and experience the goal for real, and create a very powerful motivator which is 100% personal to you. We've had lots of positive comments from clients who have tried visualisation, and whose personal images stay with them. We'd like to hear how you get on with it!