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January 14, 2017

Accountability is Fake

“We must find a way to keep people more accountable!” screamed the management. “We must hold that athlete accountable for drug misuse!” exclaimed the ruling body. No wonder we have a bad relationship with the word “accountability”.

The last time I relied on someone else to keep myself committed to taking certain actions, I wasn’t able to keep my promise. I wasn’t as committed as I would have been if I had the willingness to accomplish that task.

Accountability is often seen as something passive and external to us. People feel that they need someone else to hold them accountable.

I believe that you can hold a baby, hold a door open, even hold a position in your company, but you can’t hold someone accountable. To be great at what we do, we need to make a commitment to ourselves and not need others to do the same.

Being accountable is making a promise to ourselves to achieve what we need to and do what we mean to. It’s making a personal promise that builds trust, character and self-esteem as well as the esteem that others have for us.

So what can we do to ensure we take the actions and hold ourselves accountable?

Benefits and Costs

Often we fail to consider what we need to do, or sacrifice in order to make our goals happen. As with most goals, there has to be a clear benefit to putting in the effort to making completing this task or achieving this goal. Whilst we do sometimes consider why we want to do something, we rarely consider up front what costs are involved. There is always a cost; whether it’s financial, emotional, spiritual, time or otherwise.

Act on Commitments and not Feelings

This is called the art of Self-Discipline. It is being able to do something whether you feel like it or not. Sometimes you will not feel like getting out of the warm duvet to go for a run in the winter morning.

January 11, 2017

Are You Having Too Much Whine?

You’ve just come home from a long day at work where you’ve had to discipline some people who think they own the place, having dealt with a resistant HR department, and have been told to improve efficiency and reduce costs further. Your team already think they’re doing the job of 2 people.

It’s easy to become acutely stressed at this point. Dealing with these pressures over an extended period of time, can take a toll on the best of us. It’s also easy to take these issues home with you. It’s also natural to want to share these things with your family, your partner and friends.

Misery Loves Company

Perhaps you’ve also been supporting your friends with their challenges and issues. There’s that old saying “misery loves company” and is the cause of us having “pity parties”. The thing is, most of us are not aware that we’re doing it. You’re smart enough to know that constantly moaning or whining is not going to get you results.

The first step is observation. Take time to observe the conversations between you and your closest peers and family. Is the conversation positive or negative? Are people complaining about their problems constantly? Remember, it is normal for us to share our problems, but not if it becomes a constant stream of negativity about the same thing without any change over time.

Next observe whether you are contributing to this with your own issues, in a manner where the problem is discussed but not the solution. Are the others giving you solutions to your problem or reacting in a “poor you” manner? Are you offering solutions to their problems? Are they even looking for solutions or are they just letting off steam (either intentionally or unintentionally)?

Of course it’s entirely possible that you’re just in the company of too much whine and not the person doing the whining. Unfortunately, people rub off on us, so we must be careful to not become part of the same mentality.

A Mental Shift

Sometimes it’s easier to help others than ourselves. But sometimes it’s best to try and set an example. Next time you catch yourself complaining about something, ask yourself the question – Is this something you have a solution to? Can you come up with a solution? Can you adapt to the situation or change it?

 

July 10, 2016

Want to Escape Burnout BEFORE it happens? Try This!

 

WANT TO STOP BURNOUT BEFORE IT HAPPENS- (1)

As a professional parent, you are constantly pulled in different direction. To be fair, you’re used to it, and so it may come as surprise to yourself when you begin to acknowledge that it’s all starting to pile up on you. You are starting to recognise the signs of burnout – an certain and unpleasant destination if you continue down this path.

So what can one do?

Step 1: Analyse your current state

Where is majority of your time being spent? If you’re anything like me, when I was at this stage, I could only ever think about work. When the workload and pressure increases, I was expected to take it in my stride – as I’ve always done. You may be facing a similar situation. On reflection, you may find that there’s a lack of time being spent on leisure and family. Social life has become a luxury, and even when I occasionally found myself at a colleague’s “leaving do”, I’d still be thinking about how quickly I can get home and finish the report due Monday 8AM.

Score yourself against where you energy and time is spent. Put a percentage against each of the below:

Work:
Family:
Personal Leisure Time:
Socialising:

You may think of a couple of other areas, but the natural effect of spending most of your time on one of these means there is less for other activities.

Step 2: Book a weekly meeting!

Now this Is probably the last thing you were hoping I would suggest to you – to book another meeting! Stay with me here.

You need to take one afternoon out of your week, and book out for a meeting with the “executive team”. This executive team however is not at your workplace – it’s your family. It’s also your ME time, because you are the CEO of your life.

Step 3: Take no prisoners!

“Now this sounds more like it,” I hear you whisper. What I mean here is, no exceptions and no interruptions. When a client asks for a meeting on this afternoon, manage their expectations and request an alternative. Having it in your diary as “executive meeting” means they are less likely to try to convince you otherwise. I know if an executive who had a client meeting for a contract worth £250,000 who demanded she meets at this precious time. She immediately got on the phone to me and asked if she could cancel her executive meeting. I told her in the grand scheme of things, how important is her “executive team” to her? She said “They’re everything to me,”

“Then you have your answer.” I replied. She stood her ground and the following day, the prospect came back to her and met her on her terms. She got the contract and she kept her Friday PM meeting with her executive team. She’s since booked out all of Friday, every week!

Step 4: Just desserts

You work hard. You used to play hard before all this overwhelm took over. Time to put you first. You know when you’ve done exceptionally well – closed a complicated case, landed that contract you’ve been working on the past 18 months or beaten sales projections for your department or region by 15%! Go reward yourself! Book into a weekend Spa break, take the family out to a lavish dinner, or a few days at the Maldives.

“But what about the work, CJ? What about the workload?” I hear you ask. Let’s go to the final step…

Step 5: Delegation

You’re expected to manage this extra work-load and take it in your stride, as you’re always done. However you only have 24 hours in a day, much like every other human being. You may already have an assistant or PA or a team. Trust your team to be able to deliver, and you can task them with not just repetitive tasks, but mission critical ones too, as long as they have the appropriate training and a suitable brief, single out tasks which can be done by others and make it so.

Follow these five steps and you will be able to stop yourself reaching the stage where you burn out.

If you’d like to take a more detailed look at your situation with a no-obligation consultation, call me on 07988630004 and we can see how we may be able to work together.

April 22, 2016

Tribute To Prince – Dearly Beloved

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Prince Tribute – Dearly Beloved

“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called Life” -Prince

I was at a networking event last night when one of the attendees broke the news to me that one of the greatest Artists (in every sense of the word) Prince has passed away at the age of 57.

I was made aware that he’s had some health challenges, but no one saw this coming. It’s a tragic loss to the music industry the world as a whole. Prince was of the generation of artists who actually knew how to play instruments (I think he mastered 20+) and did not need “autotune” or to lip-sync to sound like he could sing.

He pushed the boundaries of sexuality and combined genres like none other before him or since.

My message to you today is that life is short. We have no idea what may or may not come tomorrow. Make the most of today and appreciate life. Appreciate beauty in everything that exists like Prince did.

SHOW UP in this world and do something great. Make a difference in someone’s life. Tell someone you love them and don’t forget to love yourself.

Last but not least, remember those who have gone before us and the legacy they left behind. People forget what people did but will always remember how people make them feel. Emotions trigger memories. Leave an impression and make yourself and others feel great.

April 8, 2016

How Stress is Affecting You and Costing the Economy 2 Billion Pounds Yearly

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How Stress is Affecting You and Costing the Economy £2 Billion Yearly

Stress has been in the news and all over studies related to working life, as well as life in general. In fact its been so overused that I feel that the full impact of what stress can do to us has been diluted. Although most people know that stress affects them negatively, including in their health and overall productivity, the daily compounded effects of stress are not always obvious.

The Good

Yes, there is a good side of stress. This is called Eustress and refers to the level of stress we experience when we are about to embark on something which is just outside our comfort zone and makes us feel uncomfortable. This is a normal fight or flight response to, for example, speaking in front of a small group or asking someone out on a date or starting writing your dissertation.

This level of stress actually helps you recognise that something needs to be done to resolve this stress and helps to expand your comfort zone. It’s usually not hard to move past this state once we decide that it needs to happen.

The Bad

36% of all work sickness is related to stress . This level of stress occurs when you are pushed far beyond your comfort zone, or you are placed into a situation which causes discomfort for an extended time. Being under negative stress can cause you to have a quicker heartbeat, sweaty palms, headaches, migraines, shallow breathing, depression, and make us far more susceptible to illness. It usually takes us quite some time to recognise that we are feeling very stressed, usually because we are so caught up in the detail of the day and don’t notice the bigger picture of our wellbeing. At times, other people or colleagues might point out that you seen stressed before you realise it.

My advice is for you to take the time to recognise signs your body gives you that you are feeling stressed. Identify situations which are causing this stress and take steps to negotiate a smaller workload or break down your tasks until they become more manageable.

Take time to exercise 20 to 30 minutes minimum early in the morning, as this releases endorphines and will cause you to feel less stress at the start of your day. If you are feeling stressed at work, and it is caused by others, have honest conversations and search out your company’s wellbeing support services if they have any.

The Ugly

When we are stressed for an extended period of time, we experience severe detriment to our health, energy levels and motivation. This can lead to depression as well as other psychological and physiological ailments.

The Solution

Managing stress in our busy lifestyle is vital. Here are 5 things you can do to help you alleviate stress.

  1. Exercise – Just 20 minutes of running in the morning will give you a boost of endorphines and also give you some vital time to think and clear your thoughts. A nice double-whammy!
  2. Chunk down big tasks or projects. Making tasks more manageable will reduce stress as it enables you to concentrate on the next step.
  3. Recognise that you CAN make a change and a difference. Dr. Victor Frankl taught us that between any stimulation and our response, there is a gap which is our response-ability to choose how we react to a situation. Realising you have control of this helps you take charge of your actions and your future.
  4. Get some “me” time. Especially important if you spend all day dealing with and resolving problems for others, taking some breathing space will give you the strength to come back stronger after sorting things out in your head.
  5. A good nights sleep can also help reduce stress levels. Our brains need time to process all the events of our hectic lives. Get enough rest and this will reduce stress as well as lighten your mood. I know for a fact that if I don’t get my 8 hours for a few days, I get very cranky. Just ask the wife!

If you have enjoyed today’s post, be sure to sign up for updates at the top of this page.

If stress gets the better  of you, get in touch and we can arrange some coaching for you specifically tailored to help you reduce this stress.

April 7, 2016

How to Become Unstuck With Your Goals

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How to Become Unstuck with Your Goals

So you’ve done your homework and you’ve got clearly defined goals with SMART attributes, but you still can’t seem to get the progress you want in the time you want to have it.

You’re also taking actions that you know you should be taking…but maybe not as quick as you’d like. Maybe you’re stuck in an endless loop of action without actually going anywhere. I’ve been there countless times, and I know how frustrating that can be. I’ve found that there are two things that I can do which seem to work every time I’m stuck on a goal. Let’s dive right in.

You may have a goal which seems like a big long-term goal. Let’s say you want to run a half marathon in 6 months time. You know you need to break down your training to small chunks and gradually work up to longer distances and shorter times. However when you plan to go out for that run, you find yourself lacking motivation and the duvet just seems cosier.

What could be happening here, is that you’re focusing on the big goal. Perhaps you’re even looking at big segments of your goal and thinking it’s a small chunk. If you’re constantly thinking about reducing your time by 10 minutes, you’re going to overwhelm yourself. Instead think about the smallest possible next action that you can take. In this light, even “going for a run” is a project. The first step is getting out of bed. Try that. See, not too difficult. Okay the next step is to get yourself dressed. No biggie right? Okay, let’s crank it up a notch – put your trainers/sneakers on.

Wow you’re practically at the finish line…figuratively speaking. Now the next step still isn’t to go for the run, it’s to open the front door. Good luck getting outside without that step, haha. NOW that you’re already outside, you may as well go for that run. And your focus from here should be to beat your previous time, nothing more. Chart your progress and you’ll soon be having them saying Mo Farah-who?

The second thing that has helped me in this regard is to create a schedule and stick to it. Make a game out of it. Have you ever felt demotivated to playing a game? Most likely not – unless someone is making you do something you really dislike. Our brains are wired to home in towards things we consider fun. So make good use of this but creating a schedule, creating some checkpoints so you can track progress and also having deadlines and destinations in place to aim towards.

Think about the average trucker. They’re on the road 12 hours a day and keep on going. Do you ever hear of a trucker who isn’t motivated to do their next delivery? No. They know they have a schedule to meet so that they can do their job and get paid. You see, our personal goals are not (usually) something we get paid to do and therefore we must summon up the courage to get going and get things done. Think like a trucker. Turn your day into a schedule and have a clear destination in mind and you will certainly achieve your goals.

What we’ve spoken about today are “big picture” and “little picture” scenarios. Both of these are vital in keeping focus on your goals and getting unstuck. Remember, do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed. If you still find yourself stuck, reach out to us or attend one of our upcoming events.

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