“Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be”

Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, people who care about you and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it.  

From: 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently

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Life is how you FRAME it

Framing: the individual’s perception of the meanings attributed to words, phrases, events or actions.

How and why we think the way we do is based on our own preexisting beliefs, attitudes, and opinions.

Photo from  Anne-Katrin Arnold & kfergos -Flicker

Photo from Anne-Katrin Arnold & kfergos -Flicker

A key learning from the RYLA leadership camp I recently attended was the theory of framing, and how influential it is in every day life. We learnt that “thinking creates feeling creates behaviour”. The way you think about an event creates the way you feel about the event, and in turn reflects how you react. This can be both the immediate reaction, or how you feel and react years later.

For example if someone cuts you off when driving – what happens next?

You think: “Damn you! I’m in a hurry, I can’t believe you were so rude cutting in front of me”

You feel: Angry

Your behaviour: Beep your horn, yell at the driver etc.

OR

You think: “Gosh I bet that person was scared when they realised how close they were to my car”

You feel: Relieved the cars didn’t collide, empathetic for the other driver

Your behaviour: More aware about your own driving and others on the road

In this example there are two completely different outcomes, solely based on the initial thought of the event. This demonstrates how your thought turns into your associated feeling which creates a reflective behaviour.

My experience at camp was a bit different to the driving example. It was during the afternoon activity after we had our session about framing.

There were a lot of wasps around, everyone was jumping and screaming when they came near. I was eating a filled roll and a wasp flew onto my roll, I simply just stood there calmly and said “oh would you please go away”, and as if it heard me it flew off. Someone noticed and said “gosh you are calm”, my response was “they’re only being friendly”. It turned out that was a perfect example of our learning’s about framing that morning; the way I perceived the wasps presence was different to that of my class mates, and instead of running around and angering the wasps I felt relaxed and had a calm reaction which meant the wasp just moved on.

My personal experience with the wasps and realisation of the framing I have has made me notice how different the people around me frame situations and it has reinforced my confidence in my positive attitude. My friends always used to refer to me as the bubbly, happy, positive person. Recently I thought I had been losing a bit of this positive expressive-ness, however, over the last week since finishing camp I have noticed that when talking about or interacting in an event I always have a positive frame around it. Luckily, this generally influences those around me to feel better about the event and simmers their reactions. Although, I have noticed with a few people, who have completely opposite framing, the transition from thinking – feeling – behaviour can happen so fast that there is no chance for a positive influence before they have reacted to the situation.

I feel this is a great learning as I will be able to use it beneficially in both my personal and professional life. By acknowledging how the people around me frame the events that happen to them, I can learn more about their deep seated core beliefs, as well as preempting their reaction in certain circumstances by changing the way I present the situation to them. The knowledge I now have of framing can lead to more mutually positive relationships in all areas of my life, and a greater understanding of individuals and their behaviours in general.

Camp Overview

A quick catch up: last week I went on a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp (RYLA) in Epworth, near Maungatautari in the Waikato. There were 42 of us that came together for this camp from all over the Greater Waikato District including: Napier, Hastings, Taupo, Hamilton, Cambridge, Rotorua and many other places. We began our first day by doing a few exercises about ourselves and our journey as a leader so far, then some team building exercises, and finally a RUBIK exercise to decide on our main group for the rest of the week. We were instructed before the camp to bring seven different items of clothing in colours of the Rubik cube; which we then swapped with other camp members until we had clothes of just one colour. I ended up in the White team which was nicely balanced with three males and four females.

White Team

White Team

One of the team bonding exercises we did was Rock n Roll, which I was so excited about! We were privileged enough to have two junior national champions and a world champion teaching us the basic, turn out, turn in, a drop and spin. As a party trick we also learnt how to do a bridge with the whole group!

Learning the basics

Learning the basics

Rock n Roll bridge

Rock n Roll bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we spent the morning inside learning theories about leadership including: above the line (Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility) / below the line (Blame, Excuses, Denial) and also “thinking – creates feeling – creates behaviour” based on your core beliefs. The afternoon was spent at the high ropes course at Lake Karapiro. We remained in our colour teams for this activity and scaled many a high rope; I even did one blindfolded!

White team on the beam

White team on the beam

White team at high ropes

White team at high ropes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These high ropes were a good test of our team work and support. We had to belay our own team mates, encourage them on the harder ropes and one rope even required us to run with the rope in one direction while the other person was running in the opposite direction resulting in them flying up in the air!

Ascending the first high rope

Ascending the first high rope

High ropes blindfolded

High ropes blindfolded

Another high rope!

Another high rope!

The next day we went to Stubb’s farm in Waitomo. There we were separated into different teams; mine was “pigs”. We made up a chant which was simple yet effective… Leader: “Piggy piggy piggy” followers: “Oink oink oink”, “piggy”, “oink”, “piggy”, “oink”, “piggy piggy piggy”, “oink oink oink!” We completed four activities in this team: rock climbing, abseiling, caving and team work adventures. I have always loved rock climbing, so this was especially exciting for me as it was a combination of outdoor rock climbing on real rocks with the indoor handles attached. It was also the first time I had gone caving; we went through different heights of caves – at some points we were crawling between cracks and through water, other times we were climbing up and over big mounds. I found the limestone inside was very interesting to look at, it is millions of years old, and of course there were plenty of glow worms to keep me intrigued – it is actually their poo that lights up!

Piggys in the cave

Piggys in the cave

Pigs successfully finished caving!

Pigs successfully finished caving!

Pigs rock climbing

Pigs rock climbing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were many other activities we did including managing meetings and public speaking workshops, along with Masterchef and pikelet creations that kept us busy and taught us a lot. We even planned and practiced a Haka to thank the Rotarians and organised the final dinner where many family and friends attended to see the outcomes of the camp.

Creating perfect pikelets

Creating perfect pikelets

White's Master Chef

White’s Master Chef

Tika Tonu Haka

Tika Tonu Haka

Getting my RYLA certificate

Getting my RYLA certificate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The RYLA camp experience was amazing and one I won’t ever forget. I am sure I will be calling on a few of the people I met there in the future, it was a great networking opportunity, not to mention all the new skills and theories I learnt. I am having post camp withdrawals, as I do after every holiday, trip and camp. I miss the people, the food, the activities and the atmosphere.  Many thanks to the Rotary clubs that sponsored us all, and District 9930 for organising the whole event. Bring on a reunion soon!

Rylarions 2014

Rylarions 2014

Opal: Back where it all started

My 21st birthday was coming up. My boyfriend at the time was doing a contract job for a lady who bred Samoyeds; he put two and two together and decided he would get me a puppy from her next litter as a birthday present. I got to visit the litter from the day after they were born in February. They looked like little rats, their eyes and ears were still closed and they had claws for paws.  

Week two: The puppies began to open their eyes and ears so now they resemble Guinea pigs. They were all kept in a little dog kennel with a blanket and mum would come to feed them and play with them a few times a day. They liked to sleep a lot at this stage. I had picked out the puppy I thought I would like, but as they weren’t active yet I just made a note to see what her behaviour was like later.  

Week two: puppies opening eyes and ears

Week two: Opening eyes and ears

Week two: oversized rats

Week two: oversized rats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week three:  The puppies’ fur was growing a lot by now and they had developed into cute looking animals starting to show a bit of personality. I had the opportunity to meet their grandma and dad as well, this meant I could see what my puppy might look like when she was fully grown, and see the temperament she was bred with.

Week three: puppies rolling around

Week three: puppies rolling around

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week four: The puppies were a lot bigger now, they could no longer fit comfortably in the little kennel so they were moved into mum’s big kennel with a run attached. This was in an outside paddock and they were let out daily to get some exercise with mum.

Coming to say hi

Coming to say hi

Little sisters in the big kennel

Week four: Little sisters in the big kennel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week five: This is when the puppies personalities really showed. The same pup I had chosen earlier in week two was always coming up to the edge of the kennel for a pat and giving kisses. We got to take the pups out individually and play with them. I remember there was one very shy pup who would always sit away from the fence and she didn’t want to chase around the paddock, she was quite content to sit, be patted and roll over. Opal however was a bundle of energy from the word go; she would thunder after us in the paddock and roll over for pats and constantly give kisses of appreciation. I didn’t realise at the time but this was a big tell tale sign of what was to come.

Week five: Attention seekers

Week five: Attention seekers

Puppies mum checking us out

Puppies mum checking us out

 

 

Group huddle discussing play time

Group huddle discussing play time

Puppies exploring their tails

Puppies exploring their tails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week six: This was more play time with the pups and final decision day on which pup I wanted. I chose the same one from week two, she was a joy to play with and I felt like we had made a special bond. She was easy to tell apart as she had brown spots on her belly, and a little hernia belly button (I think that’s what it’s called), which went away after a month.

Playing jump/run in the paddock

Playing jump/run in the paddock

Week six: Coming out to play

Week six: Coming out to play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My baby with spots on her belly

My baby with spots on her belly

 

Week eight: I got to take my baby home! She had her first vaccination and was registered with the NZ Kennel club – which means she is a registered pure bred Samoyed and they can track her bloodlines back really far. She has a few champions in her great grand parents which was exciting to know! She came with some puppy food that she had been fed in the last few weeks of solids, and her vet booklet.

 

 

 

The next challenge was to think of a name…

Leadership: learning the skills

Leadership is an interesting concept. In life we have many different leaders, and therefore many different interpretations of what makes a good leader. I have been a leader in the form of netball team captain, netball coach, junior rugby team manager, president of the university communications club, a big sister and training staff. These are each different in their own ways and I have learnt a variety of skills from each role.

This year I have decided to look deeper into what makes a good leader and how I can improve on what I have already learnt from these experiences to make myself a better leader in the future. I am taking a university paper in leadership (which happens to be coded 111!), I have also taken the opportunity to participate in a six day leadership camp through the NZ Rotary Club (which starts on Saturday). I thought it would be good to compare my current views of leadership with those I have after attending the camp,  and finishing my uni paper.

The leadership lectures at uni focus a lot on our own personality and combine it with the research theory that has been done on leadership qualities. One study we were given showed that New Zealanders ranked the following four characteristics as most important in a good leader:

  • Honesty (86%)
  • Forward-looking (86%)
  • Inspiring (78%)
  • Competent (53%)

These are very similar to the top four characteristics I would have chosen for a good leader. It is however a challenge to have a strong balance of all of these characteristics in every leadership role. I think attending the Rotary camp and completing the uni paper will help me to cement my own personal leadership style and fine tune how I use each of these characteristics to best serve in different situations.

The Rotary leadership camp is next week and before I go I have to make a one minute presentation with voice over on ‘what leadership means to me’. I have used my previous sporting and club experiences to demonstrate what I think a good leader is and how I attempt to demonstrate those skills. This is a good starting point and I will be interested to see how my views expand and alter during the camp.

I will report back after camp. Wish me luck.

 

Creating experiences

My most recent learning “a public relations practitioner’s job is to create experiences”. Creating a successful experience is where imagination and knowledge come in; you need to think of big crazy ideas, know who you are talking to, then figure out the smaller details to make it happen.

Waikato Universities ‘Management Communication Students Association’ (MCSA) travelled to Prinz headquarters in Auckland for a day in the life of PR practitioners’. We visited a PR agency (Eleven PR), a recruitment agency (Velocity), a government agency (NZTA), and an in-house corporate team (Westpac).

 Interestingly all four of these companies’ communication teams shared the same advice. To create a successful experience you need to:

  • Perfect your writing skills; keep it punchy, simple, active and engaging
  • Become a news addict; both local and international
  • Embrace numbers; measurement and reporting
  • Understand converged media; earned, owned and paid
  • Have the utmost honesty, integrity and trustworthiness
  • Network and build relationships, you never know where you are going and who you may call on.
  • Have passion for the work you are doing, it makes your messages much more valuable.

 As a demonstration of experiences created by PR we were shown three main campaigns. Firstly, Virgin Mobile’s ‘Fair Go Bro’ campaign that used an unusual take on the “celebrity” endorsement for a global impact far above its media spend. Secondly, Smirnoff’s ‘Nightlife Exchange Project’ which featured sponsored parties and events to share the dance culture of major cities across the globe. Lastly Telstra’s ‘Hero Message’ which was a 60 second commercial featuring Men at Work song “Down Under” sung by groups of every day Australians in support of their Australian team competing at the Olympics.

 Imagination is more important than knowledge; thinking big and creating an experience using converged media is the key to success in public relation practice.

 

It’s all about who you know

My mother always used to say “it’s about who you know, not what you know”. I never thought much of this until I reached university where it got drilled in – “network, build relationships, talk to people”.

So last night I ventured to the Big Smoke (Auckland City) to attend a networking event organised by a PR agency. Media Mingle was held at Degree Bar in the Viaduct. The environment had both a professional and casual feel, with over 50 people from various backgrounds in attendance.

This was quite a nerve wracking situation as a student being surrounded by professionals who I had never met before. I had prepared a few questions in advance as conversation starters, to use in awkward pauses and to keep the conversation flowing, which helped relax my initial nerves.

I mingled with PR professionals in the Government Sector, the Events industry, and PR agencies, along with some self-employed and I.T media people. 90% of professionals I spoke with got the jobs they are in now through previous contacts they had made.

The top tips I gained from this experience include:

– Knowing the ins and outs of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, makes you more attractive to employers.

– Pay high attention to PR writing papers in university as these prove to be the most useful when beginning a job in the PR industry.

– Put yourself out there. Approach agencies or specific in-house teams to request an Internship and then prove yourself; jobs can be created.

– Create and make the most of the opportunities that life presents you as these could prove invaluable for years to come.

I found my first networking event to be a great eye-opener. From the advice I received I plan to build relationships with the contacts I have made and look forward to future events where I can build on my networking skills and make further contacts.