Learning with TBOE

Small habits that can lead to excellence

Posted on November 15th, 2018 in Event News, Industry Insight, Leadership, Speaker Interview

Whether you want to exude excellence in your daily life or for it to be reflected in the events you create, it’s often a case of making a few small changes rather than one big jump. Author Will Durant famously said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

Holly Ransom, CEO of Emergent, is a big fan of this quote. We spoke to her about the small habits that have helped her become a better and more productive person, and how other leaders can incorporate these in their lives.

The importance of personal growth

If it’s your job to grow and improve an event, it’s hard to get started unless you’ve done similar work on yourself. If we can’t get the most out of ourselves, how can we expect to get the most from the teams that surround us?

Picking up new habits, making sure you’re engaged in lifelong learning and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone all go a long way to creating the best version of you. If you haven’t already started doing this, the time to start is now.

Holly said, “With the rapidly changing world around us, every leader is feeling the pressure of the need to transform the way that they work and the way that they operate, adjusting to shifting customer expectations and demands. The importance of it has probably never been more than it is right now.”

Be conscious with actions

Being ready to start changing and improving your habits as you strive for excellence is a great place to start, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

One of the first things you should do is have a look at your current habits. A lot of what we do is not a conscious choice, instead we act on autopilot, and while those habits may have developed and served a purpose at some point, they may not be useful now. Scrutinising the way you act and behave can help identify areas that can be improved.

It’s important to be aware of how you’re spending your day, taking note of the things that are energising you and the things are having a negative impact. One of the common areas that Holly highlights are meetings, something a lot of us organise or attend but often in a less-than-perfect way.

Holly said, “Meetings are a drain sometimes on energy and a drain on productivity. We maybe can’t get rid of meetings entirely, but how can we make them more productive? Can we commit that all have to have an agenda? Can we commit to turning all our meetings into stand-up meetings, so instead of going for an hour, they turn into 15 minutes?”

“How is it that we find opportunities to inject new, little steps into the way that we work and the way that we operate that can change things up?”

Small habits that you can pick up

Before you can start making changes to those around you, you need to make changes to yourself. Below are four ways that Holly has found she has become more productive in her working life.

Getting up early

Holly gets up at 4.30am to start her day. To many people, that sounds outrageous, but often the earliest hours are the most productive. In this time, Holly works uninterrupted on the things that are important to her and the things that set her up for the day. She meditates, she works on ideas or problems and she makes her plans for the day.

Holly said, “Those hours are magical because nobody is interrupting you. Your phone’s not buzzing, emails aren’t popping into your inbox, you have totally uninterrupted time and in our day-to-day life that is such a rare thing.”

Make actual plans for the day

Everyone has different ways that they organise their days. Some work by deadlines, others have detailed spreadsheets and some are very reactive to what’s going on around them. As part of getting up early, Holly decides what she’ll focus on in that day and what she wants to achieve.

She said, “How do you try and set up a start for the day that ensures you are focused on the things that are important instead of the things that are urgent? I prioritise my energy and put some early time into thinking about how I’m going to conquer them.”

Always keep up your education

No matter what you know, or think you know, there’s always more to learn. Whether it’s adding a formal qualification to your resume, learning a complementary skill to your current capabilities or just keeping your brain active, education is key to personal growth.

Holly said, “You probably couldn’t meet someone who is more passionate about education in general. The point we’re at now is getting that right mix of formal education, on the job experience which is growing and increasing importance, and as well now the multitude of freely available learning that is out there.”

The importance of physical exercise

Holly often cites exercise as her most important habit. In 2015, despite her travel commitments and intense schedule, Holly signed up for an Ironman triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike ride, 42.2km run) with just 100 days to train. Since completing that race, she’s kept up the exercise habit which has transformed her life for the better.

She said, “I think whatever way you’re doing it, all the research points to the extraordinary benefits not only of moving, but of eating and fuelling your body right. I just think they’re overwhelmingly positive in not only your physical health but your mental health.”

“One of the things that truly astounded me was the increase in my focus and my capacity. I really didn’t expect either of them, but my ability to engage the volume of work that I felt like I could take on, the level of energy I had to give to the things that I want to be able to do, grew exponentially the fitter that I got. There’s an extraordinary benefit to be had.”

To hear more from the inspirational Holly Ransom, book your ticket to The Business of Events, 7- 8 February 2019 at Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park.

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