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#PersonalExcellence : How to use the 70:20:10 model to achieve personal excellence?

By giving it a shot!

The 70:20:10 model in Employee Learning and Development is an optimal model for people to access multiple sources of learning. The model defines that 70% of learning takes place in the form of personal experiences on the job, 20% through meaningful exchanges with others and 10% through formal or academic exposure. This model is highly used by many organisations across the world to bring about workplace effectiveness by making learning avenues accessible to people.

This model was designed in the 1980’s by three researchers Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A Eichinger while researching core areas of development of successful managers. They explained through their research that people need to experience all avenues of learning to be able to successfully develop multiple business competencies like influencing skills, risk-taking, decision making, communication with stakeholders and peers and many more.

But what if we could use this model for personal excellence as much as it is used for professional productivity?

In most of my speaking engagements, people lament about how personal excellence is meant for the rich/elite population since they have all the time in the world after outsourcing the less glamorous jobs of their day. For the less privileged population, personal excellence is a myth.

We often go through the motions of the day whining about how different things could have been if we had the power to change them. The truth is – we cannot change our circumstances, we can surely work with what we have. I often tell myself that if I have the ability to feel powerless, then I surely have the ability to feel powerful too. I may not be able skip the demands of people around me but I can surely manage small pockets of “me” time that allows me to be myself and prepare for demanding circumstances. This gave rise to the 70:20:10 model of personal excellence. I used it in the following way consciously to make the most of my day.

70 Minutes a day : Workout

I split 70 minutes into 60 minutes of workout and 10 minutes of warm-up/cool down/meditation. I realised that a crucial step to personal excellence begins with putting myself first. I am not a morning person. An evening workout routine with a combination of cardio, weight-training, yoga, circuit training balances me physically, mentally and emotionally. It prepares me for better sleep and mindful eating. I feel energised the subsequent day ready to conquer what comes my way.

My advice: Factor out the crucial 70 minutes in a day that is solely dedicated to putting you into shape physically, mentally and emotionally. Allow yourself this space to build resilience and better thinking capacities. That way you will not regret going through the motions of the day since you have nurtured your need for downtime/prep-time.

20 Minutes a day : Gratitude Journal

Writing is therapeutic. I mean putting pen to paper as opposed to tapping the mobile screen.. Although I did not begin journaling until I studied Positive Psychology from University of Pennsylvania where I was taught to reflect and make notes on 3 positive experiences in a day and how I felt about it. This scientific experiment and practice is known to build resilience and forward looking energy in all spheres of life. I could see a positive shift in the way I perceived occurrences in a day and gave greater emphasis to elements through the power of gratitude.

My advice: Maintain a small journal and record 3 positive experiences in a day. Describe the incident, how did you feel about it and why ? I recommend practicing this ritual 20 minutes before you retire for the night. It helps you sleep stress-free and look forward to the next day with enthusiasm. Oh! And it hones your story-telling skills too. Who knows, you might become a writer someday.

10 Minutes a day : Plan your day

I am a control freak by choice. Unapologetically! I prefer some structure in my day. I use 10 minutes to plan all the activities and errands. This can vary from visiting the grocery store to planning my pitch for an important meeting. This ritual allows me to list out all that I need to do and weed out the unnecessary items that do not require immediate attention. I’d say prioritising helps me structure my routine including the 70 and 20 minutes of my day.

My advice: Find your crucial 10 minutes while you commute or while you are at your workstation in the morning to map out your activities. You can also plan your activities for the subsequent day in advance by spending some quiet time in the evening. Even if you cannot prioritise your deliverables in the list, it will do you a world of good if you merely list it down.

Although researchers designed the 70:20:10 model to build professional competencies, it equally helps me in my quest for personal excellence. These numbers are micro-targets of personal productivity that invariably have an incremental impact on my overall well-being.

Do give it a shot! All the best.

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