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January 2010 - Another New Year
Pow'Rful Presentations is a relatively monthly investigation of ideas, strategies and techniques to assist readers be more present in life, better project managers and make effective presentations (in all senses of the word).
Disclaimer - depending on your background, and my South African origins, you may find some of my spelling and grammar to be "imaginative".
© Wayne Botha 2010
Today is One Day
The ancient pygmy tribe in Africa have a theme for each year. Similar to the Chinese Zodiac that assigns an animal to each year. 2010 is the year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese Zodiac.
According to the ancient pygmy Zodiac, the theme for 2010 is "Today is One Day". As we close out 2009 and start 2010 we instinctively reflect on the past year, make plans for the coming year, and wonder how many more years we have left.
Hopefully you have made your annual New Year resolutions. I don't worry much about New Year resolutions, such as "lose weight, eat better, get more exercise". Who cares? We all want to look better, have more money, less stress. Big deal. We will make the same New Year resolutions 364 days from today.
Instead of taking on large goals that require dedication and sometimes appear to be unobtainable lets focus on identifying a few small tolerations in your life. When you remove many small tolerations from your life, the cumulative effect will make you say "Why didn't I do this a long time ago?"
In case you are not aware of this: A toleration is anything that you put up with, which irritates you and makes you less productive than you could be. For example, I worked with a woman who struggled to use an email application. As ridiculous as it sounds, I got this toleration out of my life by gently teaching her how to use email. It makes her more effective, increases the bottom line for the corporation, and reduces my stress level when she doesn't constantly interrupt me to send emails on her behalf.
Here is how you identify tolerations in your life:
1. Explain your routine work day and work environment to your spouse. Ask them to just listen, because you will discover tolerations just by explaining your routine actions and daily details to someone else. Focus on what frustrates you.
2. Become aware of tolerations. When your desk is in a mess, ask yourself "Why am I tolerating this? What would it take to clean up this desk?" When you find yourself searching for your pen, for the third time today, ask yourself these questions.
3. Take 10 minutes of quiet time to think - "What frustrated me in the last week, at home, in my car, in my family relationships?" Identify the things and situations that make you say "One day, I am going to fix this". Why not make that One Day, this day?
4. Monitor your self-talk for a few minutes at a time. I can't tell you how many times I have thought "Now where did I put that ruler?" and spent 2 minutes looking for the ruler in my office. Over a lifetime, this dysfunctional behavior adds up and I would have preferred to spend the time on productive activities instead of looking for my ruler, pen or whatever.
You get the message by now - identify things in your life that you are tolerating. Become aware of these tolerations, and then move to step 2 - eliminate the tolerations.
Listen up - The key is to eliminate the tolerations at a pace that makes sense for you. Don't make another New Year resolution of "Eliminate all tolerations from my life". Your best intentions will add to your tolerations when you add this half-completed project to the pile.
Instead, remove each toleration, one at a time. Sort through one bookshelf at a time, throw out what is no longer needed, and organize what you decide to keep. Then take the next bookshelf, office drawer, computer filing system, half-finished home project, etc. you have tolerated all of these leaky faucets, dirty carpets and pile of old magazines for so long, that a few more days won't make any difference. Eliminate one toleration, then move onto the next one.
As you go through 2010 - remember that the theme for 2010 is "Today is One Day". Why not make today that "One Day" and remove a toleration from your life?
(Disclaimer in fine print: I have no idea what the ancient pygmy Zodiac theme is for 2010)
Tips for Toastmasters.
If you are in Toastmasters, then this tip will help you to get more out of your journey. 
Contact Rotary clubs, and Toastmasters clubs in your destination city when you make plans to travel. Ask how you can schedule to speak to their groups while you are in town. Some clubs have speakers scheduled months in advance, and you should give as much advance notice as you can.

Speaking outside of your Toastmasters club forces you to grow as a speaker. Every new audience brings a new anxiety which results in you becoming a more experienced speaker. The only way to become a polished, seasoned and experienced speaker is to leave the safety of your home club and seek out new audiences. Go ahead, you have my permission to contact Rotary and Toastmasters clubs before you travel, and offer free speeches. You benefit, and so do they. 
Do you know someone who is stuck and not progressing towards a goal? Contact me and I will schedule a sample coaching session to see if we can work together.
Do you need a speaker for your conference? Contact me and let's discuss if I am the right speaker for your event.
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Email me with any problems or questions that you have about project management or presentations and I will attempt to address them in a future newsletter.

More next time!

Wayne Botha

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