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Posts Tagged ‘motivation

Knowledge, A Transmission of a Heritage

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thot3

Thot, egyptian god of knowledge

Knowledge is the most valuable thing we can acquire. It starts first with our parents who explain us lots of things during early childhood and later. Then the time has come to go to school where we learn to read, to calculate, to understand and appreciate.  It is also the most crucial moment to develop our sense of curiosity and discovery.  That’s why it is not only necessary to learn the basic fundamentals, but also to learn all what can bring us directly or indirectly inspiration, new ideas. History, geography, literature, art, are just as important in education.

Knowledge is part of education, and education is an important step to expand our knowledge, our curiosity and creativity.  Curiosity is a key motivation to open doors to new knowledge.  Curiosity is a key element to expand our knowledge and to increase our autonomy, to become free human beings. There are many channels to explore new horizons, to understand our environment and the history, by reading books, watching Tv podcasts or going to the cinema, visiting cities and historical sites, practicing a sport. All these new discoveries we can do, could be the opportunity to discover new centers of interest, new motivations, new ideas to develop future projects.  Knowledge is acquired through experience and original journey.

Knowledge is also one of the only things without limit. Each day, science makes new discoveries, industries are innovating. Each discovery is a source of knowledge opening doors to new reflections, new discoveries and opportunities. But the most interesting fact is that knowledge is the only thing we have more when it is shared. What would be the interest to keep your knowledge for yourself, especially in the age of the internet, where you can find an unlimited quantity of information. It is also senseless to keep information or knowledge for yourself when projects can only be done and succeed as the result of a collective intelligence process. Those who don’t share knowledge consider it in a spirit of competition. But today, things begin to be more and more complex, and in such a context, the required knowledge is so extensive that we can only control a part of it. We must not see each other as competitors, but more as complementary people who can learn from each other. Instead of seeing knowledge in a competition spirit, let us considering it in a collaboration spirit.

Knowledge has to be considered as an intangible common heritage. Each of us, we acquire knowledge on different ways, according to our interests and aspirations.  We acquire knowledge with experience and as I mentioned in a previous article about seniority, it is an asset. But in a fast and ongoing changing environment, young generations have other sensibilities and other visions of the society. Combining experience of the seniors and new visions of the juniors is an interesting way to launch innovative processes. It is only by sharing knowledge and visions that each of us, we can evolve together.

Knowledge is part of our personality, what will make us someone blossomed. Knowledge is what gives us possibilities to accomplish us, and to allow others to accomplish themselves. Sharing knowledge each other will make us grow. We can share what we acquire, without losing it. Knowledge is finally a heritage to be transmitted.

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 24, 2019 at 07:04

Utopia is a strength

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limitesWhat would be the world without utopia? It would be probably a world without dreams and hope.  A definition of utopia is the representation of an ideal society, the contrary of the reality. It can also refer to a reality that appears difficult to accept.  Utopia is considered as something irrational, so, unreachable and by consequence, each effort to reach it seems to be useless.

By such a definition, utopia has a negative connotation.  But considering utopia as a part of dreams, is a positive way to consider it and maybe to consider it as a strength. Let us remember this nice quote about utopia from Théodore Monod, saying that “Utopia does not mean the unrealizable, but the unrealized”. So, is utopia really something unreachable, unrealizable? Let us thing about few things to answer to that question.

Our utopias are a kind of dream guided by our own aspirations, by some values to which we adhere.  Most of the time, we have doubts to the realization of our utopias, maybe because we are referring to that perception of unreachable goal. But have we to see utopia as a final goal or as the path to move to another environment, to something new in accordance with our values and aspirations?  Utopia looks like unrealizable, but to try to get closer from our utopia can be an interesting walk for our personal life.

To reach our utopias induces an idea of movement. The most difficult part of the process is to start that movement, to start that inner walk by putting concrete actions in place. Sometimes, a phenomenon of procrastination appears to some of us, and is the sign of doubts, lack of motivation and self-confidence, seeing utopia as something irrational. Let us talk about an example. A lot of people wants to save the planet, and initiates concrete actions to contribute to that goal. For instance, you compost your household waste, in order to minimize the garbage bags you use and to decrease the ecological footprint of the elimination of household waste. Some people doubt and don’t start such action because they see such action as derisory on their individual level, compared to the overall effort that required to save the planet. But considering such action as derisory could be a way to hide your lack of ambition to face more ambitious challenges and your lack of commitment.

Commitment is probably the key element to shape your own utopias. Commitment to your values, commitment to the community, commitment to implement concrete daily actions in order to reach your goal, to live your own values. Without commitment to act, what is the meaning of values?
Commitment and actions are the conditions to start that walk to your utopias. The inner path along which you will put concrete actions making you discover new horizons and contributing to build communities sharing the same values, a path of learning along which you will shape your self-confidence and that will bring you closer to your values and ambitions, …closer to your utopias.

There are two different ways to see utopia. Or you see utopia as a barrier, a mental barrier, or you see it as a life motivation. We could say that utopia is not precisely a goal to reach but much more a state of mind. Not a goal we could name perfections, but a path leading to excellence, a path along which we discover a bit more ourselves, where we can reinvent ourselves. Don’t see utopia as a constraint, but as a motivation. Life is an utopia, utopia is a strength.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 14, 2019 at 08:42

The Motivations Of Change

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IMG_2272After times of reflection, I decided to sale my car and to use alternative transportation modes. I am the owner of a car since nearly 30 years and to take such decisions doesn’t come overnight.  Such change is never obvious, as the car is a comfortable way of transport. There are multiple reasons why I decided to take this decision. Some are evident, other are less so.

The first reason why I decided to use other ways of transport is the cost that represents the car for the usage I have of it since few years. Like in many cities, Brussels where I am living, is facing problems of mobility. The traffic is increasing every years, and when you calculate the average speed of movement, you are nearly going faster by walking. I am a bit joking, but for instance, during my last assignment as freelance project manager, I was spending more than an hour in the morning to drive 18 km to join my customer office. Considering this as senseless, I decided to take the metro, and I noticed that it took me a bit less time than with the car, but the difference was that I can use the time spent in the metro to read a book. I was feeling less stressed and had the feeling to have learned something by reading, avoiding to waste time. One of the consequences of using less my car is that the fixed costs are expensive for a low usage.  Insurance and taxes represent expensive charges for a car parked 99% of the time along the sidewalk.

Despite the possibilities of other transportation ways (metro, car-sharing, bicycle), I was still hesitating for a while to do the step, considering that it could be possible that I could need my car a day for a reason or another.  The reason was that I never know in advance where my next customer will be located, and if it will be possible to go there in a reasonable time.  And then, I started another reflection. I have several activities, and to do them on a regular basis and in relaxing mode, what you need is….time. So I was considering if I would still ready to lose hours in traffic jams or in a long distance on a daily basis, to work for a customer. The answer was clearly “No”.  Brussels and around is a city where most of the economic activity is concentrated, offering enough opportunities, and to spend hours and hours on the road is not the best way to make your day profitable.

Then, by considering the way to work and the constraints I was ready to assume, the argument of the transportation cost was a key element in my decision. After evaluating the cost of a bundle of transportation modes (metro, car-sharing, train), I evaluated that it would represent nearly maximum 50% of my car budget. When you buy a new car, you have an increase of depreciation costs, you contract an extra insurance premium, and it means that you need revenues to cover these costs.  And then, another reflection started in my mind. By reducing the transportation costs, it would allow me to get more choice of opportunities. I would have more freedom of choice, by working for an interesting project matching with my expectations and my values, instead of working only to earn money and pay invoices.  And it is probably the real question that must be asked: why am I working for?  As freelancer, am I working to pay a car or am I working to be happy by building my own project?

By writing this article, I remember a conference of Luc de Brabandere, a Belgian consultant specialized in creativity. Luc De Brabandere mentions that each change needs two steps to be effective. The first one is to change the way we are doing things, and the other one is the way we perceive that change.  In my case, when I started to take the metro, and when I found the opportunity to read books in the metro, the question was not how long will it take to reach the office, but what can I do during that time.  So the perception of time and the perception of moving is different. This is an interesting point and somebody was telling me recently that philosophers and neurosciences specialist are in opposition. Philosophers say that everybody is able to change and that it is only a question of will. Neuroscience specialists say that it is more complicated than that. They say that when we are doing something, there is always an associated emotion, and that emotion is printed in the reptilian brain. As far as that emotion is not replaced by another emotion, the effective change process is difficult and will not happen.  Here, in my experience, the pleasure to read books and to learn was higher than the pleasure to the comfort of a car, and so a new positive emotion has been printed in my brain.

Change is complex process that doesn’t come overnight. It implies another way to think and to represent things, to consider the direct and indirect advantages that the change provides.  A change has to be desired and not imposed, and there is a time needed to integrate it. But you will notice that to start such process is a way to discover new opportunities and to move to a more enjoyable life. The key is to find the deepest motivations of your life.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

October 20, 2018 at 14:53

Listen to your inner voice

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Steve Jobs, who listened to his inner voice.

In his famous speech at the Stanford university, Steve Jobs said “Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” I was remembering this sentence during a informal meeting of entrepreneurs organized by a partner.

I am used to attend some informal entrepreneurs meetings. These cessions are the opportunity to make new contacts, to expand our network, but also to hear about experiences, interesting professional ways. By sharing our respective experiences, we can note interesting things, learn about some useful solutions or advice, but also put an end to some believes.

I am always amazed by people who decides one day to take a completely different professional way. In the last cession I attended, there were two men who decided to change of professional goals, one moving from chemistry to sales of ICT hardware, and another, moving from manual activities to a training and coaching activity. Each of them explained in which circumstances they took their decisions, and by listening to their stories, I can learn or confirm a few things.

The common start point in such decision process was a dissatisfaction element. One of the guy was not satisfied about the job he was doing, and wanted to have more recognition, to look for something more interesting. The other was blamed by his boss, telling him that he will never be a good sales guy. He decided to show himself he was able to be one’s. In both cases, people want to have a better image of themselves, and are maybe noticing that there are not anymore at the right place, or never were at the right place. Suddenly, there is a shock, a flashing light in your head, meaning that you want something else. This shock brings the motivation to initiate that change process.

Such shock, such flashing light is not the only element contributing to decide to change of professional direction. It is also an effect of a long and gradual change process. Through our work, through different professional experiences, we are expanding our knowledge, acquiring competences, and sometimes, talents are emerging, a wealth you acquired day after day. The fact that you are looking for something else and that you make an assessment of your competences, make that you suddenly realized what are your competences and what new ideas you could concretize.

Of course, such transitions are not always easy, and one of the attendees, as many entrepreneurs I met, confirm such difficulties. But to launch a idea, a new business is always a challenge. The most important thing is to be focused on your goal and to persevere to reach it. It doesn’t guarantee that you will reach the success, but failure is not a fatality. By having the courage to launch a project, you will learn a lot of things, you will learn from other people you will meet. Even if you fail, don’t think that you will have to restart again. You will only take a new start, with more experience, with more knowledge. Have also the humility to share your failure experiences with other people. You will gain in credibility and break some believes that business is an easy thing. By sharing your failure experience, you will learn something to somebody else, and you will probably receive some advice from somebody else too.

To start a new business, to become an entrepreneur is always a difficult challenge. But with courages, motivation and hard work, by adapting your strategy, by meeting and working with other people, you can maximize the chance to reach your goal. But motivation can only be there if you are convinced by what you are doing, and if you have the talent to do it. Listen to your inner voice.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

May 9, 2012 at 23:08

Change of life, yes but….

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Michel Kacenelenbogen, founder of the theater "Le Public" in Brussels, was first a business man.

Some of us are dreaming to change of life, by changing of professional activity, by doing something different from what we are doing now. We see of course the positive side of such changes but there will be also new constraints to these changes. These changes imply to take decisions, to make choices, but these decisions and choices have to be the result of a reflection process and not of improvisation.  There are several things we have to think about before to operate such change and to be sure we are going in the right direction. Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Nevertheless, we have not to neglect the importance and the consequences such changes can have. What is a dream will become a reality and we have to make sure that we can assume this new reality. I would like here to share some ideas about some aspects you have to think about, if you dream to change of life.

  • Indentify clearly why you want to change of career, of job. Is it because you do not like what you are doing, or because there is another problem not related to your actual position. I remember a single-handed sailor, who was telling that he received often letter fro people who were fed up about life and who want to come with him on board to sail with him around the world. The sailor do never accept to take these people with him, he said, because they have to solve first their problems before to be on board. By not solving their problems, they will come on board with their problems and in this case, it could be a danger.

  • Make sure that the choice you will do is really the one you will be passionate by. If you decide to move to something you are passionate by, it is because you are already doing this activity as a hobby, or you are bringing a lot of interest to that activity, and this is motivating you. This kind of decision is something you decide because you discovered something new that brings motivation. It is difficult to say that you will be motivated by something if you never did it. In this case, your dream could be simply an illusion.

  • Be aware that you will have to deal with new constraints, and you will have to be able to face to them. You can prepare this future activity and  build scenarios, but if you are paying attention, you see that very often, things does not happen as foreseen. I remember friends of my parents who decide to leave Belgium and to buy a farm in south of France. For these two scientists, it was a total change of life, with new positive things but also new constraints to deal with. There is a huge difference to live permanently in another country and to go in this country for your holidays.

  • Be sure that your choice is matching with your values of life or new values you decided to follow. To switch to another activity does not mean that you will only gain advantages. As mentioned before, you will have to face new constraints, and one of these constraints is money. I read in an economical magazine some testimonials about managers who changed of life. Most of them were saying that there were earning less money than before, but they were much more happy with what there were doing now. Such choices make that you will have to move from a passive consumer position to a creative actor.

  • Make sure that you have enough competences to do what you are dreaming of. This is another essential condition to switch successfully to another activity. To start a new challenge makes that you will be a junior in that new domain of activity, and in order to be at the same level of your competitors, you will have to provide intensive efforts and hard work. This is a period where you will have to be strong, and the only things that can support you during these times are your capacities and your motivation.

  • Be prepared to such change and have always an alternative plan. Such change can have an impact on your revenues and your comfort. To move to another enterprise is always a risk, but you can prepare such situation. Determine how much risk you can take and you are able to face, and have always an alternative plan if you do not succeed.

Make a change of career is not a decision you take suddenly. You are lead to make such choice in function of the circumstances of your life. But as a sailor, when you decide to change of road, you have to know first where you want to go, and to be aware about the constraints linked to this new choice, this new road. The new choice you will do will not be necessarily more easy that your present situation, it will be different and more matching your values and expectations.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

September 6, 2011 at 19:28

The intangible side of an organization.

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Traditionally, each company or organization used to publish financial statements in order to present their results and the performances of the activity. Most of the time, the level of profit is the main concern of companies. Of course, making profit is a essential condition to ensure the durability of a company and to finance in future projects. But is profit the only condition and the only parameter proving the good wealth of a company, of an organization?

A financial statement is a picture at a T time of the property of a company, an organization. A picture provide a range of information, but the evolution between two period of time will tell more about the trend of the business or the activity. In other words, the movie will tell us more than a couple of pictures. Nevertheless, these financial information does not include a range of intangible values that will have a positive or negative impact on the activity or the business.

What are these intangible values contributing to the sustainability of a company, of an organization? Let us review a few of them:

  • Innovation: in a fast moving environment where a lot of competitors are acting, innovation is a key factor of success. Innovation requires to perceive the trends of evolution, to look at the expectation of people, of to potential market needs. Innovation means to anticipate and to look further than the horizon. Innovation and creation of new innovative products or services will distinguish your company from your competitors. Success is never definitively acquired. But sometime, companies are meeting success and forget that success has a time. The major point is not how to survive to failure, but how to survive to success.
  • Talent and competences: An organization or a company works only thanks to the collaboration of people having competences and skills. The development of competences level will contribute to the performance level. The organization needs to have a long term view in term of competence development. Some people are leaving the organization, and it means that a part of know-how is leaving the company too. To ensure the sustainability of resources and talents has to be a major concern of the companies.
  • Vision and team spirit: The organization needs to have a clear vision and all the member have to subscribe to that vision, to the common goal. It is only by sharing the same vision that they can contribute to common goals and show team spirit. A company like Appel Computer succeeded in her major realizations, because Appel members are sharing Steve Jobs vision.
  • Motivation: Each collaborator, each member of a team has competences. But competences is not the only condition making him contributing to the organization by giving the best he can do. The key factor is motivation. He can only be motivated if he has clearly assigned goals and if these goals and the role he has to play within the organization fits with his expectations. People who are not motivated will show poor performances and the level of performances will decrease with the time. People need to be able to express their talents, and to find sense on what they are doing.
  • Wellness: Wellness is linked to motivation. People needs to love their job and to do it with a feeling of to wellness. They need to enjoy their work environment in order to be motivated and to provide the best work they can give. Stress and lack of wellness have a negative impact on the health, and on the productivity. People are only waiting to go back home, their do not want to be considered or identified as a team member of the organization. In these circumstances, it is difficult to reach a common goal.
  • Corporate social responsibility: People are paying more and more attention to the reputation of companies and their engagement to social responsibility. The economy is a major actor of the society and has to integrate values that are respecting the society and the people.

These are a lot of intangible aspects you will never find in a financial statement of an organization or a company. Nevertheless, these aspects can have a positive or negative impact on the performance, but also on the reputation of the organization. And with the development of information technologies and the social medias, your bad reputation can be known quickly and cause important damages to your organization. To take care about these things will contribute to empower the efficiency and to ensure the sustainability of your organization.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 16, 2011 at 21:08

How to face the uncertainty?

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How to deal with uncertainty?

By having a look around you, by reading newspapers about several subjects, you can note that uncertainty is increasing, and that we have to face it more and more. When we think closer to that subject, we can wonder ourselves if there are still certainties. You never know what can happen tomorrow with your health, with your job, with many things. There are different types of uncertainties. There are things happening by coincidence, and things we can more or less predict but we can not say if these things will happen or not. To make predictions becomes more and more difficult, because things are changing faster than before. What was true yesterday is not true anymore today, and it is hard to make predictions on a long term basis.

We can talk about uncertainty in different areas, but here, let us talk about the daily uncertainties we have to face in our job or in our business environment. Uncertainty can impact positively or negatively our career or business perspectives. Another question is to know how are we facing uncertainty. And we can note that for some people, uncertainty is something there are scared about, but for other people, it is a source of motivation, giving them a lot of energy. Is it something impossible to be able to face uncertainty? Certainly not, but as in many things, in many goals you want to reach, you can implement different strategies, in function of the constraints and the circumstances. As in each problem, you can find a solution, if you decide to take care of it.

The first point is to face the uncertainty. By burying your head in the sand like an ostrich, you will certainly be heading straight for disaster. You need first to analyze and understand the source of uncertainty, determine the potential issues and what are the different alternatives you can develop to solve the issue, what are the solutions that will help you to maximize your chance to succeed by facing uncertainty. It is important to be ready all the time, and not to think about things when you only need them. With other words, I could say that uncertainty is probably something which can make avoid putting you in danger. A too comfortable situation makes you falling in a routine, where you don’t see the necessity to make efforts, to improve yourself, and when you perceive a danger, when an issue appears, it is most of the time to late to take action in order to escape to the troubles.

You can decrease uncertainty by maximizing the potential opportunities. But as mentions Philippe Gabilliet, a French professor in leadership of a MBA school, in order to attract the opportunities to you, you have to be an opportunity yourself. To be an opportunity, you have to offer added value, to be an expert or to offer a bundle of competences, to be able to show proven experiences, and to show a fair attitude. By optimizing these assets and by building a good network, you can maximize your chance to have opportunities. Don’t forget also that most the time, you get once an opportunity, not twice. Each opportunity can bring a lot of lessons, reveal new interests and capabilities. Each opportunity can contribute to improve our knowledge base, to improve skills. By expanding your skills, your knowledge, by having a curious mind, you maximize the potential opportunities you can face, and you can profile new career or business perspectives. By maximizing our chance to be able to face new opportunities, we become more self-confident, and we can face the uncertainty on a confident way.

To be able to face uncertainty implies also to have margins. As mentioned before, by improve our capabilities and skills, contributing to increase our chance, we are creating us margins, allowing us to face uncertainty on a more confident way. The margins allow us to have the time and the possibility to develop different alternatives in order to get out of a difficult situation. Never forget also the material margin. For your business or for your own life, keep always financial margins. It is the challenge we have to face everyday.

The key points to face uncertainty are anticipation and long-term view. I mentioned it is difficult to predict things on a long-term basis, but by analyzing different trends, you can develop and implement alternatives bringing long-term effects. Anticipation will allow you to have solutions before the problems occur, and you will be prepared to use the appropriate solution in function of the circumstances. And even you will probably find another solution than the one you prepared, because by pursuing such process, you become more creative, your mind is used to deal with that.

I could summarize this topic as follow. Imagine you are falling into the water. You will probably be scared if you cannot swim. If you are facing the problem, you will be convinced that you have no other choice to swim. Your natural reflex will be to try to swim, or at least, to try to keep the head out of water. But before to be confronted to such problem, learn to swim. It is important also to be trained on a regular basis in order to improve your endurance. If after this, you should fall into the water, you will not be scared, because you are trained to face the situation. And if you are a bad swimmer, and you suspect that there is a possibility to fall into the water, think about another solution: take a lifebelt with you!

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

July 26, 2011 at 21:17