Category Archives: students

Is there something wrong with me? I don’t seem to be able to answer questions about my vision

Guiding people through the process of creating their OTM Plan for Personal Success is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work.

I especially enjoy helping people who have the courage to ask questions when they are ‘stuck’ throughout the process that I guide them through.

Tonight a participant in the program I was conducting asked me if there was something wrong with her because she hadn’t been able to answer the questions that I had been asking that are designed to help people to work out their personal vision.

Sometimes up to one third of program participants report this challenge. Which is why it was so important that that Lilly asked her question. You see, in answering Lilly’s question other participants were also able to ‘unblock’ themselves from their challenge.

When I inquired with Lilly about why she had struggled to answer the questions, I discovered that Lilly had been letting her present reality ‘get in the way’ of defining, and physically writing down what she really wanted. This is common. Our present reality is so ‘real’ that it can be very difficult to set it aside and write down what we really want.

Fortunately I was able to help Lilly see past this challenge so that by the end of our short conversation she was flowing with answers that related to her personal vision.

When we create a personal plan for success we have to focus on what we want. After all, who is going to put into action strategies that are going to create who you don’t want? Not me, that’s for sure.

Finally, creating a personal plan is like any skill. The first time we do it we are not as good as we’d like to be. This is normal. Which is why personal planning needs to be practiced and, especially in the first years of living your OTM Plan for Personal Success, I recommend updating your plan every six to 12 months.

If you are interested in creating an OTM Plan for Personal Success, why not check out the free 40 minute webinar that I am hosting on this topic.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Monash PAL Leaders prove that we’re in good hands with Gen Y

My work results in me working with Gen Zers through to Builders. Not a bad spread, is it!

Often Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and Builders bemoan Gen Y.

“They want everything now”, “They are selfish”, “They don’t understand loyalty”, “It’s all them!” are statements I regularly hear.

But Gen Y are as selfless, community focused and loyal as any other generation.

I have proof.

Some of the work I do with developing leaders has me working with students in various leadership programs for universities based in Melbourne, Australia. One such program, the PAL Program for the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University has students experiencing a range of developmental programs over a three year period. In their final year of the program the students create community based projects.

They give up their time to generate and manage sustainable projects. Last weekend 56 students gave up half of their Saturday (it was a beautiful 29 degree day too) to go through a facilitated process to create projects. Next Saturday the students will complete the first phase of this process as each ‘project team’ will participate in a workshop to ‘launch’ their project and enhance the probability of achieving their desired project outcomes.

Each project must fulfil at least one of the following principles:

  1. Enhance the students to student experience
  2. Enhance the student to faculty experience
  3. Enhance the Faculty/University to community experience

The projects often end up raising awareness for charities and/or current domestic/world events. Ultimately, the students do make a positive difference through their actions (which are all in addition to their studies, part time work and anything else they might be doing with their lives). If nothing else their projects create a sense of community and belonging for students, factors that are extremely important and cannot be underestimated in terms of student well being and mental health.

A significant purpose of the program is to enhance the employability of the students by providing them with real opportunities to do real work. Universities recognise the importance of creating well rounded students who understand theory and are also able to put theory into practice. Over many years of facilitating these programs I can say that they do enhance the employability of the students. The lessons that arise from working with other talented people, within tight timeframes and limited resources (often there is no money available for the projects – the students have to generate the income they require for the projects to be funded – which create a wonderful ‘mind-shift regarding money that is invaluable) are practical, real and powerful for the students.

After each day of completing my work with these students I always walk away with high energy levels and heightened sense of positivity regarding our future. These students do care about more than themselves, they are selfless and willing to give of their precious time for a higher purpose and most importantly they do make a positive difference. Our future really is in good hands.

I look forward to sharing their successes later this year.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

The Thankful List

For many people around the world we have just finished giving and receiving gifts. Of course upon receiving gifts we have given thanks in appreciation of what we have just received.

A day later it is worth slowing down and reflecting on all the things for which we are thankful.

The Dalai Lama has shared that western people, despite their wealth spend most of their life suffering. The suffering comes from wanting something they don’t have and not appreciating what they do have.

The Festive Season often results in people receiving some of the things they have wanted. Unfortunately it is not long before western people then want something different, or better than they currently have. So the suffering starts again! It is for this reason that this time of year provides an opportunity to stop, reflect and to consider all the things for which you are thankful.

The act of writing your list seems to make it real. As you write down each item you automatically reflect on why you are thankful for that item.

To create your Thankful List I encourage you to be as specific as possible. Think of all the things from all aspects of your life for which you are thankful. For example name the people for which you are thankful.

You will be amazed at both the length of your list and what you have included on it. Interestingly, it is a list that, once started, seems to keep growing.

Once started, place your list where you can see it regularly. You’ll be amazed at the tension in your life that is reduced from running your eye over your list on a regular basis.

What’s on your Thankful List?

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

After Year 12, What’s next?

If you or someone you know has just completed Year 12 in Australia and would like to know which career paths are most likely to result in an available job, then you can’t go past the DEEWR New Jobs 2010 Report.

The report includes job projections to 2014/2015 for the following 19 industries, with the most growth expected in declining order:
1. Health Care and Social Assistance (3.3% per annum)
2. Mining (3.3% per annum)
3. Education and Training (2.7% per annum)
4. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (2.6% per annum)
5. Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services (2.4% per annum)
6. Construction (2.4% per annum)
7. Transport, Postal and Warehousing (2.3% per annum)
8. Accommodation and Food Services (2.0% per annum)
9. Information, Media and telecommunication (1.8% per annum)
10. Retail Trade (1.8% per annum)
11. Financial and Insurance Services (1.6% per annum)
12. Administrative and Support Services (1.6% per annum)
13. Arts and Recreation Services (1.5% per annum)
14. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (1.5% per annum)
15. Public Administration and safety (1.3% per annum)
16. Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Service (1.3% per annum)
17. Other Services (0.5% per annum)
18. Wholesale Trade (0.5% per annum)
19 Manufacturing (-0.7% per annum)

This information can be vital in terms of the post secondary education/training choices that people make, so it is well worth keeping up to date with the report, which is available here.

It is also important to recognise that qualifications take time to be completed, so looking ahead at what the jobs landscape can be very helpful and important.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Free Ebook – What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 3, 2010 released

What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 3, 2010 has just been released. It is a collection of the main articles on The Organisations That Matter Learning Network (which is hosted by Gary Ryan)  from July 1st 2010 through to September 30th 2010.

The ebook makes it a lot easier for you to reference your favourite articles, as well as providing you with an opportunity to provide a gift to a friend and/or colleague.

You can download the ebook here.

After downloading the ebook, please remember to click the ‘Back’ button to return to this site.

Please feel free to comment on the value that this ebook provides you.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Free Group-Work Course for University Students

Many university students have recently re-commenced their studies. In this context this short online course (that includes no homework!) is perfect timing to ensure that you make the most of this semester.

Students report that university group-work is one of their most dreaded experiences at university. Yet employers highly value university group-work because it is where students have to learn how to work with different people, just like in the ‘real world’.

This free two week introductory course will ensure that you give your university groups the best chance to achieve the success you desire. You will also learn how to ask some critical questions that will help your team to be successful. These questions are not unique to student groups – which is why they are so useful to master while you are a student!

Click here for more information.

Please share your experiences of putting the lessons from the course into practice.

This course includes access to a free ebook titled Teamwork For University Students.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Being told “You’re crazy!” is a good thing!

Have you ever been told that you are crazy for doing what you are doing?

I have. Plenty of times. In fact I’ve had it said to me so many times now I see it as a good thing!

I recall when I first decided to enrol in a post-graduate university program as a part time student, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

When I decided to become the senior coach of a local football team, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

When I decided to study part time at the masters level at university, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

When I decided to form my own business with my business partner, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

When I decided to run my first marathon, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

When I decided to write my first book, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

When I decided to write an ebook and give it away for free, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

When Michelle and I announced that we had our fifth child on the way, people said, “You’re definitely crazy!!”.

When I decided to run a marathon four weeks after having had my appendix removed, yes, you got it, people said, “You’re crazy!”.

This list could go on and on. But it wouldn’t be fair to keep going because I think you understand the message.

I don’t know why people say that you are crazy when you tell them that you are doing something that they can’t see themselves doing, even if they really wanted to do it.

I do know that I have enough evidence to see that statement as a positive. In fact, if people weren’t telling me that I’m crazy then I suspect that I wouldn’t be striving hard enough to create the life that I desire.

You see the only reason that I have done all of the things listed above is that each of those little achievements contribute to me living the life that I desire.

As a simple example the reason why I run marathons is so that I can be healthy and fit for my family. Also I am so busy that if I did not have something as big as a marathon to train for, I might not do any training. It is the very fact that a marathon is what it is that makes me prioritise the time to train. But again my real reason is even bigger than that. I want to be an example of health and fitness for my children, so that I can physically do whatever I want to do with and/or for them.

My eldest son plays both Under 10 and Under 11 Australian Rules Football for our local club. Recently the umpire did not arrive for the start of the U11 game. Fathers were approached to pick up the whistle. They declined. “I can’t do it, I’m not fit enough.” is what I heard them say. I even overheard one father say, “Someone else will do it”.

I raised my hand. “I’ll do it.”

The simple mathematics of the situation was that if someone did not step up to umpire, the game would not happen and the children, including my son, would miss out on a game of football. That’s not an outcome that I want.

I knew that I was fit enough to do it and I also felt confident enough that I knew enough rules to do a reasonable job.

After the game my son thanked me as did many of the other children and their parents. Again, many of them said, “Thankfully you raised your hand because I could never have done that. I’m not fit enough.”

For me, for as much as I can control I never want the statement, “I couldn’t do that because I ‘m not fit enough” to come out of my mouth and stop me from helping out my children. Michelle and I also talk a lot with our children about the importance of showing initiative. Well, I can’t just talk about it, I have to show it too!

I never got up that morning expecting to umpire a game of football. Wearing a shirt, jumper and jeans I was clearly not dressed to umpire. But I didn’t let that stop me either. Who cares if people laughed at how I was dressed or looked or if they thought I was crazy! The important thing was that I was out there having a crack and helping the boys have a game of football.

I can’t even begin to tell you the benefits of having completed each of my post-graduate degrees. Once again  the important outcome has been that I have been able to live more of the life that I (and my family) desire.

I’m not sharing this story because I want accolades. Rather I am sharing it because it is an example of the benefit of taking the time to work on my health and fitness. You never know when opportunities like the one I have described above can pop up, and personally I want to be able to seize them. It is part of the future that I desire and an example of living out my purpose for being healthy and fit.

So, what are your examples of when people have told you that you are crazy?

What have been the benefits of not listening to those people?

Please share your examples with us.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

What sayings guide you on a day to day basis?

Sayings can be very powerful and act as a guide for our lives. Two Australian sayings that I find very powerful and very useful for helping me to live my life are:

  1. ‘Get fair dinkum’; and
  2. ‘Have a crack!’.

‘Get fair dinkum’ means that you need to be honest with yourself. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that everything is okay if it isn’t, and don’t go thinking everything is terrible if it isn’t. Appraise both the good and the bad and most of all, be honest!

This enables you to be honest with others, an important trait for building relationships.

‘Have a crack’ means, ‘to have a go’ or ‘to take action.’ People often miss out on achieving what they want in life because they are afraid of what might go wrong. The saying, ‘have a crack!’ reminds me to focus on what I want to achieve, and to go for it! Usually the worst thing that could happen from having a crack is nowhere near as bad as not being prepared to give yourself a chance of creating whatever it is that you want.

So, get fair dinkum and have a crack!

What sayings guide your life?

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

What Really Matters! Volume 2, No 1, 2010 ebook

What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 1, 2010 is now available to be downloaded as a gift to you.

This ebook is a collection of selected articles from January 1st 2010 through to March 31st 2010.

I am confident that you will enjoy it and find it to be a useful resource for quickly accessing articles for your personal & professional development.

Please feel free to provide any feedback about the ebook.

You can download the free ebook here.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at