Feeling overwhelmed?

Stressed, anxious, worried, tense, overwhelmed, working harder than ever – sound familiar?

One of my favourite stories is told by Stephen Covey in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It’s based on a story by Arthur Gordon entitled “The Turn of the Tide”.

Arthur recalls a time when he was experiencing deep frustration at work and many challenges in life.

Finally, he went to see a Doctor who told him to spend the following day in the place where he’d been happiest as a child. Then, he gave Arthur four prescriptions in sealed envelopes, to be opened at 9, 12, 3 and 6 o’clock the next day.

As day dawned, off he went to his favourite beach.

At 9 – “๐‹๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ง ๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ” – he heard the birds and sound of the sea.

By 12 – “๐“๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค” – happy memories came flooding back.

Then at 3 – “๐„๐ฑ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ” – he discovers he was focused too much on himself.

Finally at 6 – “๐–๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐š๐ง๐” – he did, knowing that the waves would soon wash them away.

This prescription works for everyone..

Make those internal adjustments now.

Why not apply this remedy for yourself today?

๐–๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ.

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?”

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?” asked the workshop participant…

A great question and one that I have been asked repeatedly in recent coaching workshops.

A big part of the answer is to do with ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ฒ.

Empathy is understanding another personโ€™s feelings, thoughts, and condition from their perspective, rather than our own.

In my experience empathy is being very present in any conversation, attentively listening deeply, being open minded without judgement, looking into their eyes and giving someone your undivided attention, in order to sense their emotions. Frequently a human connection is made, resulting in a peek or a fleeting impression into how or what they are really feeling. It is a momentary glimpse of their reality. That’s when I start to feel I am being empathetic.

The good news is – empathy is something that can be learned.

Active or deep listening and asking powerful questions helps us to develop an understanding of another persons situation and in turn develops empathy. As you seek to understand another person, simple responses are very often the most powerful and meaningful ways to help.

Try walking in another’s shoes today, go on give it a go!

Creativity – walking in the rain

“What shall I do now” I thought?

Yesterday, I had planned to do a charity parachute jump forย Mary’s Meals with my daughters, but sadly due to inclement weather, it was postponed and rescheduled for next year. All of a sudden I had several hours gifted back to me.

As I considered my options, I recalled some great advice fromย Magdalena Bak-Maier‘s book “The Get Productive Grid”, which reminded me that “๐‘ฐ ๐’„๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’”๐’• ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’ ๐‘ฐ ๐’‚๐’Ž ๐’˜๐’†๐’๐’”. In that moment, I determined that I’d enjoy a little me time, to start my day, and I’d take a walk in the rain. I got kitted out accordingly, brolly in hand and off I marched into the rain!

It was fun, I got a little wet, I enjoyed the bracing wind, the refreshing rain and all the smells of autumn.

The result – the invigorating walk helped me to overcome the early morning disappointment and set me up for one of the most creative and productive days I’ve had in quite a while filled with some new innovation.

Lesson Learned – start your day with some ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž. Pause, reflect, determine what really matters most and especially enjoy those serendipitous moments that are occasionally gifted back to us.

How will you make your time count today?

Opportunities

Its easy to feed the ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’ƒ๐’๐’†๐’Ž๐’” and starve the ๐’๐’‘๐’‘๐’๐’“๐’•๐’–๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’Š๐’†๐’”, a well known phrase, used frequently by legendary Management Consultant – Peter Drucker.

Reflecting this morning after another exceptionally busy week, I got to thinking about the phrase and my question is simply this…

Do you focus on your ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’ƒ๐’๐’†๐’Ž๐’” or your ๐’๐’‘๐’‘๐’๐’“๐’•๐’–๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’Š๐’†๐’”?

All week long I’ve been coaching or leading virtual group sessions on coaching for performance with managers from all over the world. I have learned that effective people are not problem minded, they are ๐’๐’‘๐’‘๐’๐’“๐’•๐’–๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’š minded. As a coach, working with lots of people, together we consider the present, but more importantly, I help each individual to look to their future.

Which leads to my second question…

What are you devoting your time and attention to?

My thoughts – stop feeding the problems and deal with them as best as you possibly can.

As you make your decisions in life, you will get most of them right, occasionally you may make a mistake, learn from it, put it behind you and move on.

Despite the challenges of today, my invitation is to look ahead to the future and all the bright opportunities that lie before you.

Open your eyes and see, they are all around you.

Are you listening?

This past week it struck me that the word listen is made up of the same letters as silent. Coincidence?

Maybe we need to be silent to really listen a little more perhaps?

Yesterday I was busy redesigning a virtual learning workshop. As I was reflecting upon how much listening I do in my coaching career and as a facilitator, I realised… I listen a lot!!

Here are my top tips on active listening from my design work yesterday…

– Pay Attention! Donโ€™t just listen to the words, or simply respondโ€ฆhear the complete message, as Stephen Covey always used to say, listen to understand.

– Show that you are interested โ€“ nod, use facial expressions, use eye contact, make verbal comments like โ€œuh huhโ€ or I see.

– Listen to the other personโ€™s story without being judgmental.

– Use empathy to understand and feel what the other person is feeling.

– Ask open questions to probe further, check for understanding and summarise.

– Donโ€™t be afraid of silence โ€“ frequently that is when the most is going on.

How can you listen a little more today?

Developing Patience

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time” – Abraham Lincoln.

Reflecting this morning on the last 6 months since lockdown on March 23rd, I recalled a scripture from the New Testament, from Romans 5:3, when the Apostle Paul taught “We glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”

I find that statement both fascinating and enlightening.

Tribulations ๐’…๐’†๐’Ž๐’‚๐’๐’… patience, but at the same time they also help us to ๐’…๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’๐’๐’‘ patience.

These last 6 months have been filled with a variety of tribulations – “distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution. A trying experience.”

Sad to say, but the next few months will be exactly the same, if not more challenging in some ways. Yet, I believe as we patiently endure these difficulties with forbearance and fortitude, developing within each of us, if we allow it, will be the strength and resilience to face whatever comes.

The daily tests of endurance that each of us are currently facing require patience.

Our struggles will continue, one day, one step at a time. But these times for certain, will come to pass.

How can you be more patient today?

Zoom Fatigue…

Are you Zoomed-out?

It has been an extremely heavy week with virtual facilitation sessions galore for me. Zoom fatigue is now a real thing! Don’t believe me? Just google it and see. It certainly struck home this week, for sure.

One thing I have noticed as a virtual facilitator is that every session demands your FULL, undivided attention for 2, sometimes even 3 hours straight. And not only once, but perhaps 2 or 3 times a day. As I have come to recognise and experience this week, I am mentally and physically exhausted. Sleep has come easy.

My key personal learning takeaways this week….

Build in some downtime for a break, a walk, to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and constantly rehydrating with fresh water has become absolutely essential.

I am finding that downtime, some kind of digital detox away from computers, phones, tablets is now a critical part of my regular daily routine – escaping the noise of the Zoom world is now an everyday imperative.

What are your top tips to combat Zoom fatigue!?

Each of us is a somebody!

Nobody is a nobody.
Through my life and career, oftentimes I’ve heard phrases like “what does it really matter, I’m nobody,” or “I’m just one of the thousands, I’m nobody really”. Perhaps in the past you may have felt or are feeling now that you are a nobody.
“We do ourselves a great injustice when we allow ourselves, through tragedy, misfortune, challenge, discouragement, or whatever the earthly situation, to so identify ourselves. No matter how or where we find ourselves, we cannot with any justification label ourselves โ€œnobody.โ€” – said Marvin J. Ashton.
Frequently life, work and family challenges can get us down and cause us to question who we really are. We doubt ourselves, we doubt our self worth and confidence may fail us. I have been in many coaching conversations where that has been the case.
But,… no BUT.., please, please be assured – each of us is a somebody!!!
All of us are individually endowed with great gifts, unique capabilities, special talents all waiting to be discovered, developed and finely tuned.
Each of us is needed. Each of us is unique. No one, absolutely no one can take your place. You are where you are supposed to be.
My simple invitation today is to invite you to be somebody, nobody thought you could be.

Shortcomings – do you have any?

Shortcomings – do you have any?
“A fault or failure to meet a certain standard, typically in a person’s character, a plan, or a system.”
I haven’t met anyone who is perfect yet, have you?
We all have our limitations, one of life’s greatest challenges is accepting those limits.ย  Frequently we may not want to appear weak, sometimes, personal pride or even a stubborn heart can get in the way.
No matter what your own weaknesses are, there is a way to change your shortcomings and turn them into strengths.
As you find the courage to wake up to your weaknesses, you have to be willing to admit to yourself that you are not infallible, that you have faults, failings and limitations and humbly accept that you are not perfect. In turn, this will lay a foundation for progression.
In many coaching conversations, I have found that when someone shares with me they have a shortcoming, a weakness or a flaw, then that first step of recognition is a giant surge forward, a massive leap of admission and progress is made.
Overcoming shortcomings is possible.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.”
It takes time, humility and practice. So, how about you?

Outgrown something?

What are the tell tale signs, when you know you have outgrown something?

Bored, unhappy, in the doldrums, not learning anything, its not fun anymore, it just doesn’t feel right, you’re coasting, you’re faultfinding, frustrations are rising, constantly checking for alternatives, there is no stretch anymore, you feel way too comfortable, there is little satisfaction, time just seems to drag, you’re not engaged…Inside you just know its time to move on and change.

All of the above? Some of the above?

Sounds or feels familiar? The signs are clear?

As a coach, I have listened to this tale on numerous occasions. In fact, I have lost count how many times.

So – what now?

Firstly, give it some real thought, ponder, reflect and revisit your goals – what do you want from life?

Secondly, speak to someone you trust. A partner, your boss, a colleague, a friend, perhaps even a coach. Share your thoughts, keep an open mind and explore opportunities together.

Outgrowing things happen. Listen to your intuition – you’ll know!