My brand new website is live – The Art Of Positive Change.
Positive Change can mean something different for everyone, however no matter what your version of Positive Change is, one thing is for sure and certain is it should make you feel happy!
And that is what I hope you feel when you visit my new website.
I’m a Lean Practitioner and am very fortunate to work at implementing ‘Positive Change’ as my day job.
Lean in Business and Simplicity in Life is my philosophy.
This philosophy stems from a deep passion for Lean principles. This philosophy has diffused into my personal life where I use Lean principles to utilise my time and energy to solely focus on what brings joy and happiness to my life. My passion for and belief in Lean principles is why I created this website ‘The Art of Positive Change’
My vision for this new website is to share information and stories from the world of Lean in Business and Simplicity in Life with you all.
Click on the image below to bring you to the website, I hope you like it 🙂
When is the best time to put yourself out there and open yourself up to praise/judgement/criticism?
When is the best time to follow your dreams, achieve your goals, live your best life?
The best time is now, right now, right this very minute.
And so with the above in mind I have launched my second website in the area of something I am deeply passionate about…the wonderful world of Lean and Positive Change!!
Is my website ‘The Art Of Positive Change’ as pretty as I would like, does it contain every functionality that I would like, is it as professional as other bloggers? The answer to the above questions is no but I am happy it has everything I need and so will launch it and will work on the finer details as I go along.
If there is one thing the past 6 years as a Travel Photographer has taught me, it is that you are never really ready, nothing is perfect, nothing is 100% and there is really no time like the present.
I will continue to post here on my Travel Photography blog and all of my social media channels will remain the same.
Are you ready to launch your own passion/dream/website/business/new venture?
Is there something you have been meaning to do but are waiting for the right time?
Don’t wait another minute – the right time is NOW!
The above post is dedicated to the memory of the late David Mc Carthy who designed and built my Travel Photography website. David was a gifted website designer, a dream to work with. He was patient, kind and ever generous with his time. David sadly passed away in December 2016 which is a reminder to us all that our time here is limited and there is no better time to follow your dreams than the present.
In the Lean/Continuous Improvement world we carry out ‘Hansei’ which is Japanese for ‘self reflection’. Hansei (反射) allows us to review goals set and reflect on how they went to see what worked so we can build on the successes and see what didn’t work so we can adjust and change direction.
I started publishing my annual review on my blog 3 years ago. See annual reviews from past years below,
Like many other bloggers and writer’s whose annual reviews I have read over the past few days, I am struggling to write this year’s review. 2016 in some ways felt like planet earth had been tilted off her axis!
Personally 2016 got off to a rocky start. I was unemployed (due to redundancy) and my beloved Dad was facing his second open heart surgery in January. Thankfully as the year went on it took a more positive direction for me as my Dad’s health continued to go from strength to strength and I started work with an exciting company committed to growth and committed to the change required to sustain that growth – #daa (Dublin Airport Authority).
I don’t think this positive change of direction was reflected globally as throughout 2016 we, as a planet and a race, struggled with the loss of many of our gifted stars from various genres, war, poverty, terrorism on a larger scale than I can ever remember, various forms of inequality and the results of the American election. Globally as personally there is much work to do in 2017.
A part of me would prefer to forget the annual review for 2016, move into 2017 and hope the global challenges faced by our planet and fellow human beings do not follow us into 2017. However, if life has taught me anything, it is that when we are faced with challenges it is then that we need to take a firm stand and plough on through!
So here goes, in no particular order, my annual review for 2016.
Destinations Mike and I visited this year include Abu Dhabi, Lanzerote and Cardiff. We also spent a few long weekends away around Ireland most notably enjoying a heatwave on Inis Mor during the hottest weekend in Ireland in years. Part of my goals for 2016 was to write more travel blog posts and so here are 2 blog posts I wrote on 2 interesting destinations with contrasting beauty – Abu Dhabi and Inis Mor.
Travel continues to be one of my passions in life, however time away from long haul travel has allowed me to focus on building my second website – more about that below! #Lean
Taking time to focus on building my new website also meant I didn’t do as much photography as previous years. Part of this focus was learning more about and growing my online presence.
Thanks to Michael Hyatt’s amazing book Platform, I learned more about growing a social media presence this year than I have learned in the previous many years since launching this blog.
If you are a blogger, writer or any type of a business owner and want to know more about growing your blog, readership and business through social media, I highly recommend this book. It’s easy to read and the wisdom shared is easy to implement.
Tony is a master when it comes to finance and in this book he not only shares his own wisdom but also leverages the wisdom of many of the world’s finest financial advisors to share their advice, insights and experience. Tony’s book is written in an easy to understand format for all levels of wealth which is why I liked it so much.
I have always known this but 2016 made me more acutely aware that no matter how much you earn or how much is in your bank account it doesn’t make you happy, make you a good person or heal you when you are ill.
In 2016 I continued to learn about social media platforms that I have been using for a long time and also started using new social media platforms – each new social media platform brings a new learning curve.
Like most things in life, the more I learn about social media and digital marketing the more I realise I don’t know.
Throughout most of 2016 I posted daily inspirational quotes to various social media platforms teaching me much about posting, scheduling and outsourcing on social media platforms – here is a 4 part blog series I wrote on these subjects last year. Social media changes each and every day and so there is always much to learn.
As mentioned above I started the year unemployed having been made redundant by a company that neither valued me or my skills. Professionally there are very few things worse than getting up every morning and going to a job where your skills, experience and contribution are not valued. From personal experience I can tell you it is soul destroying. This is the antithesis of a Lean culture where not only is every single employee respected and valued but they are developed, mentored and empowered to become the very best they can be.
I have been interested in and have been studying Lean for many years and my experience of being made redundant has made me even more committed to sharing the positive benefits of a Lean culture which I will do through my new website. Launch date yet to be confirmed, I am aiming for early January! Watch this space!
I am now blessed, lucky and grateful to be working for an exciting and growing company that not only understand that they need to change to grow and sustain growth but take focused and prioritised action to do so. This commitment to sustainable growth is what separates companies that change from those that don’t. #daa #GreatPlaceToWork
In 2016 I have become more aware than ever that so many people in our world struggle in circumstances that make no sense in such an abundant world – homelessness, refugeeism, inequality in all shapes and forms and politics driven by greed and power.
It’s nice to give back. I have been supporting various charities for many years and year on year I try to give more to each charity whether this is monetary support or volunteering my time. I continued to support these charities in 2016 but didn’t give as much in donations or time as I would have hoped. This is something I certainly need to work on in the coming year.
In January 2016 my beloved Dad faced open heart surgery for the 2nd and was by far the most significant event of my life in 2016. Everything else that happened in 2016 paled in comparison and significance.
There is no greater pain than watching someone you love and adore battling an illness. My Dad’s surgery and subsequent recovery has made me intensely aware of and grateful for every breath and every day my family and I spend illness free
For me, it is nurturing Mind, Body and Spirit that keeps everything else in good health.
‘Health is Wealth’ is a well known saying that is so so true. If you or one of your loved ones are sick there is no money in the world can give you or your loved ones back the health once enjoyed. I have always been aware of this saying and seem to hear it many times but it has never made more sense to me than it has in the past few years as I have watched family and family friends battling illnesses.
Just like the world of Lean and Continuous Improvement, the only way to definitively know if you are improving is to have ‘fact based’ metrics. I currently track 20 metrics across 7 social media platforms. Each one of these metrics increased in 2016 which means I’m moving in the right direction!!! In saying that, growth is slow – slow but steady!
I also track metrics for each area of my life as in the sections above. This may sound like a lot of work but just like metrics in business, when you get used to setting, tracking and using valuable information from them, they can become quiet addictive! #Lean
That’s it, 2016 was like most years, full of ups and downs.
I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.
May 2017 be a transformational year for you all.
Always remember small consistent changes will lead to huge transformations.
A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who shares this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive impact on my life. A special and heartfelt THANK YOU to my boyfriend Mike, my family and my friends for making each year better than the last, you are the reason for it all.
x x x
Note: The system I use for my annual review is still a work in progress and evolves year on year as my own life evolves. When I first carried out my annual review I started with a template shared and used by Chris Guillebeau. If you are interested in starting your own annual review, here is Chris Guillebeau’s How To Conduct your own Annual Review. This is a great read and highlights how powerful planning and reviewing can be.
Chris’s updated annual review template can be found here – Annual Review Template, I used this initially then changed and modified it over the years. Chris’s 2016 annual review can be found here which will give you an insight into why I follow him and why I travelled all the way to Oslo a few years ago to attend his celebration for visiting every country in the world, he is a very inspirational guy!
Following on from my 2016 Annual Review, here are my favourite 10 books for 2016. Reading is one of my favourite things to do and one of my goals for 2016 was to read/listen to a book every 2 weeks – 26 books in total for the year. I didn’t reach this goal but came close enough and enjoyed each and every book.
This was one of the best books I read this year. A simple yet effective explanation of the two types of mindset – one being a fixed mindset and one being a growth mindset. From decades of research in her field of psychology, Carol explains the different outcomes of having the different types of mindset. Guy Kawasaki’s review sums this book up – “If you manage people or are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read Mindset.”—Guy Kawasaki (author of The Art of the Start 2.0).
This book has been on my ‘to read’ list for quiet a while. One of my favourite Lean tools is 5S which is implementation of Workplace Organisation. I have read many articles about Marie Kondo’s best selling book and was curious to see if and how the ‘KonMari method’ was different/similar to 5S. This book did not disappoint. It was as interesting as it was informative. It does indeed reflect some of the techniques of 5S but is also immensely different. A wonderful read for anyone who wants to banish clutter from their home for good and spend less time tidying and organising!
This was my favourite book of 2015 and makes it into my top 10 for 2016. I am a big fan of Pascal Dennis and he ensures ‘Andy and Me’ is an easy read with a really big message that simplifies the complexity of Lean through storytelling – genius! For anyone who is starting out on the Lean journey or wants an insight into the power of Lean then this book is for you. I have read this book many times and find new wisdom and learning on each reading.
The third part of the trilogy of ‘Andy and Me’ books by Pascal Dennis. Andy Saito and Tom Pappas are reunited to evaluate the operations of a New York hospital. Pascal’s brilliant storytelling ability ensures this book delivers a compelling story infused with Lean wisdom on every page. It highlights the fact that Lean and the transformational benefits it delivers can be applied to any industry. Oh how I wish the Irish healthcare system would take note and learn from Andy Saito and Tom Pappas.
Platform is an extremely well written book on building and sustaining an audience online. It is jam packed with excellent advice from a man who really knows what he is talking about. Michael Hyatt has spent most of his career in the publishing world and now runs his highly successful blog where he shares his knowledge and wisdom generously.
If you are a blogger, writer or any type of business owner and want to know more about growing your blog, readership and business through social media, I highly recommend this book. It’s easy to read and the wisdom shared is easy to implement.
Tony is a master when it comes to finance and in this book he not only shares his own wisdom but also leverages the wisdom of many of the world’s finest financial advisors to share their advice, insights and experience. Tony’s book is written in an easy to understand format for all levels of wealth which is why I liked it so much. The spectrum of financial guidance goes from the simple advice of ‘spend less, save more’ to investment advice in stocks and shares and hiring a fiduciary to help you with same. For anyone like me who doesn’t know much about stocks and shares, the steps to assist with ‘spending less and saving more’ are reason enough to buy and read this book.
A beautiful book by an incredible teacher, this book enables the reader to identify and develop their core values which in turn enables them to lead others to greatness through creativity, intelligence and organising power. This is a really easy to read book jam packed with amazing insights. Everyone is a leader, whether you are leading yourself, your family as a parent or a company as a CEO and everything in between this is a brilliant read. Deepak spells out the elements required to be an effective leader as follows, L = Look and Listen, E = Emotional Bonding, A = Awareness, D = Doing, E = Empowerment, R = Responsibility and S = Synchronicity.
Another beautiful book by Deepak, easy to read and a book you will want to visit again and again. Deepak’s insights and advice for success are so simple yet so powerful. Here are the 7 laws outlined in Deepak’s book – like all good advice from books, living the advice is the challenging part. The Law of Pure Potentiality, The Law of Giving, The Law of Karma, The Law of Least Effort, The Law of Intention and Desire, The Law of Detachment and The Law of Dharma
I am a huge fan of the late great Wayne Dyer and every single one of his books are as enjoyable as they are unique. In this book, Wayne highlights that the greatest gift you have been given is the gift of your imagination and that everything that currently exists in the world started in someone’s imagination. Wayne guides the reader through steps to manifesting what lies in the imagination into the physical world. As deep and insightful as all of Wayne’s writings and teachings.
I have lost count of the number of times I have read ‘The Power Of Now’. The first time I read this book I didn’t really understand it, however what I did understand was that there was a very powerful message in the book. Each subsequent reading has brought a deeper understanding of the simple principle that Eckhart teaches. There is only the ‘Now’, there never was and never will be anything other than the ‘Now’. A deep and powerful book – if this book sounds interesting to you, be prepared to give it the time it deserves. One of the best and most powerful books I have ever read.
Other books I read/listened to and thoroughly enjoyed in 2016 are,
This time of year is for reflection before the planning starts in the New Year. Thanks to the wisdom in Michael Hyatt’s book ‘Platform’, looking back on the year my focus for this blog was on writing posts that were more resourceful than informational. This change of strategy in my writing proved to be popular with my readers as I saw a notable increase in traffic for each of my blog posts. As always blogging and social media is a steep and never ending learning curve.
In this digital world most people own some sort of a camera whether it’s an SLR, digicam or smartphone camera. No matter what you use to shoot images or videos it’s a must to regularly back up your images.
I’m sure there are many other file storage/sharing websites available, however Dropbox is my site of choice and seems to be popular among photographers and non photographers alike. Dropbox.com is an excellent online file storage and sharing website that’s easy to use and navigate around.
A free Dropbox account allows a very generous 2GB of storage. This may not sound a lot of storage for anyone who shoots in RAW however if you just use it as temporary storage it can suit just fine. For anyone not shooting in RAW, this is plenty of space for jpegs etc. I don’t use Dropbox for permanent storage/back up, however it is great for temporary back up when I’m traveling and for file sharing with family, friends and clients. Continue reading
Abu Dhabi is the capital city and the second most populated city of the United Arab Emirates, the most populated being Dubai. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. Abu Dhabi has a sub-tropical, arid climate with sunny blue skies and high temperatures expected most of the year. The climate is one of the reasons it has become a very popular tourist destination. Mike and I recently spent 8 days there, it was sunny every day and we didn’t see a drop of rain – bliss!!!
Here are my 5 top things to do if you visit Abu Dhabi, there is so much to do there that the below is really a fraction of what is on offer in this fabulous city. Continue reading
There are many online websites where you can create photo books. My favourite and the one I have been using for many years is Blurb.
Blurb books are easy to create, easy to order, are very reasonably priced. I am a big fan of Blurb books and have used them to create 8 Travel Photography Books (6 pictured below) and 4 Wedding Books. Continue reading
There are many file/photo storage/sharing websites/apps available, Google images, iCloud, Flickr to name a few. Dropbox is my site of choice and seems to be popular among photographers and non photographers alike. Dropbox is an excellent online file storage/sharing website that’s easy to use and easy to navigate around.
A free Dropbox account allows 2GB of storage. If you are looking for storage for your smartphone images then this is plenty of space.
For anyone who shoots in RAW (very large files) this is not a lot of space, however if you use it as temporary storage it can suit just fine
I recently upgraded to Dropbox pro which allows a huge 1TB of storage. Let me put this in context – in the 7 years I have been a Travel Photographer shooting in RAW (very large files) I have yet to fill 1TB of storage. 1TB is 1024GBs which is an enormous amount of storage space!!! Dropbox pro is well worth the investment especially for backing up images from your smartphone as they can be backed up as soon as they are taken ensuring you never lose any of those special and precious memories.
So when is the best time to back up your images and videos?
You will answer this questions by asking another question – how much time worth of images/videos are you willing to lose?
1 year? 1 month? 1 week? 1 day?
If you shoot images/videos every day then backing up day by day would be worth a thought. On the other end of the spectrum if you don’t shoot images/videos regularly then backing up less frequent is fine. It really depends how much time of images/videos you are ok with losing!
If you have a good system in place, backing up should only take a few minutes (or can be instant with most apps) whereas regret at the loss of precious memories will no doubt last a lot longer.
Whether your images are shot with your smartphone or with a professional SLR it’s good practice to have a solid back up system.
My back up system is something that has evolved over many years of trial and error and also from learning from more experienced photographers. Here is my current back up system for my professional images.
As soon as possible after shooting, I download my images from the memory cards to my laptop and also to 2 separate external hard drives (EHDs). This means my images are stored in 4 different places – SLR memory card, laptop and 2 EHDs.
As I edit my images on my laptop and carry out work required i.e. image editing, creation of books, prints etc, I back up to the 2 EHDs every week. This means my work is always in 3 different locations and I will never lose more than 1 week’s work (sometimes I back up more frequently depending on the volume of work created in the week).
When my work is completely finished and all prints, books etc have been handed over to my clients I back up all of my work to the same 2 EHDs mentioned above and also a 3rd EHD in a different physical location. I then clear my SLR memory cards for reuse and also clear the work from my laptop freeing up valuable space in both. I am safe in the knowledge that all of my work is now backed up in 3 separate EHDs in different locations which gives me the piece of mind I require.
Storing my EHDs in different physical locations was a tip I learned from professional landscape photographer Peter Cox and it has served me well so far.
(For images shot with my smartphone (non professional), I back up to Dropbox regularly and follow the same process above every month)
I’m sure a lot of photographers use online or cloud storage for permanent back up, I use these for temporary back up but for a long term permanent solution I like to know I have more control over where my images and work related to them are. In saying that I’m always changing and improving my back up system to ensure it is safe, frequent enough and takes as little time as possible and so maybe cloud storage is something I will use in the future.
In this digital world most people own some sort of a camera whether it’s an SLR, digicam or smartphone camera. No matter what you use to shoot images or videos it’s a must to regularly back up your images.
Here are 4 reasons why
If your phone/camera/memory card gets stolen and your images are not backed up they are gone forever, there is no way of getting them back unless of course you catch the robber, they haven’t damaged your images and are happy to hand your device back!
If your phone/camera/memory card gets damaged in any way chances are so will your photos and videos – worst case scenario they will be damaged beyond repair!
Same goes for losing your device, of course all will be well if you find it again but wouldn’t you like to have piece of mind that you have backed up your treasured memories just in case it doesn’t turn up!
Your phone memory and memory card is of a finite size. Once you reach available memory space you will need to delete, move or back up images and videos to create space for new ones. Phones have a lot of space and the size of image files are quiet small, however if you use an SLR and shoot images in RAW (which is highly recommended) then your memory cards will fill up pretty fast.
If you download your images/videos to your laptop/computer, this will also have a finite size and will fill up pretty quick depending on the number of images you shoot, the number you edit etc. My Mac Book Pro has a memory for 250GB which you would think is large enough but with the amount of images I shoot in RAW this memory is filled faster than you would think.
Whether your images and videos are personal or professional they are precious and the moments captured are once off that can never be uniquely captured again.
If you don’t already do so I hope you will consider backing up your images regularly,
In my next post I’ll go through the process I use to back up my images whether shot with my smartphone, digicam or professional SLR.
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Hi, My name is Siobhain Danaher and I am an Irish based Travel Photographer. Welcome to my blog where I share my thoughts and adventures on Travel, Photography and Life. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and viewing my images :)
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