Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Spinning “role” plates…

Do you know how many roles and titles you have in life? If you imagine some spinning plates with all of them labelled with your roles in life you would get a sense of your life. We invest time in certain roles and then sadly as we over invest on certain plates others may wobble and some may sadly crash to the floor.

We have to carefully keep them all spinning with a steady and calm momentum in order to help our own mental well being.

The starting point is to work out what roles we have:-

  • Mother
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Friend
  • Work colleague
  • Line Manager

You will notice that I have included your work roles as well as our life roles. We all put on a certain demeanour depending on the role we are playing and therefore we need to see the full extent of our plates. By including all your roles you get a sense of scale and the emotional investment you are going to need.

It is hard work to keep it all spinning, but life is better if the rotations are calm and steady. I have these last few days only been spinning one and I find that I have lost touch with who I am. Just focusing on that one role has in a way left me slightly disarmed as to who I am.

My spinning will begin again this week and luckily none of my plates were totally neglected so I will not be sweeping up crockery, however it has been a wake up call as to who I am and my many roles.

Please do get in touch with identifying your roles in life bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, personal impact

Key takeaways from Dare to Lead

Brené Brown’s book “Dare to Lead” leads on perfectly from Daring Greatly to explain how vulnerability can be a strength in leadership and develop much healthier cultures.

She identified within organisations unhealthy behaviours and cultures.

  • Avoidance of tough conversations
  • Polite culture (not really addressing issues)
  • Passive aggressive
  • Too much time managing difficult behaviours
  • Diminishing trust
  • Too much shame and blame
  • Values not being lived
  • Perfectionism

When she asked participants to identify brave leadership they struggled and were not sure whether courage was a skill or a trait. She also needed to address the myths attached to vulnerability eg. its not a weakness it is a strength. Her studies showed that you cannot get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.

When speaking to the Special Forces she asked did you feel vulnerable at a time of high risk and uncertainty and emotional exposure, one guy put up his hand and said he had been on three tours and felt that every time. This gave Brown her best example of courage sitting alongside vulnerability.

Vulnerability is not winning or losing it is all about the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome. To love someone is the ultimate example of vulnerability.

Everyone needs a square squad the group of people who love you for all your imperfections and your vulnerability. They are called the square squad as you write their names on a square piece of paper one inch by one inch, and carry them with you.

Clear is kind and Unclear is unkind. You want to give some-one feedback however you are reticent so you “fudge it” and end up talking to others rather than being clear and direct. Tough conversations are never easy but they are much kinder when they are clear.

Tips for your meetings to demonstrate bravery, use Brown’s technique of permission slips, what behaviour or intent do you want to bring to a meeting. For example I would like permission to listen with passion and I want to stay open minded. As a group writing down your intentions is powerful and a shared experience.

“Turn and learn” another technique for your team, when you experience unrealistic time lines or very different views on budgets. Brown’s team use the methodology of “Turn and Learn” when a timeline has to be agreed, they all write their prediction on a post-it note and on the count of 3, they all reveal at the same time. This prevents everyone following the crowd and original thought.

Guiding us through leadership and life should be our values which we need to live into. Brown says that we should only have 2 core values, and whilst this seems harsh you find that once they are recognised they do fit with decisions, behaviours and every aspect of your life. The 2 that she lives her life by are faith and courage.

It is tricky to know what comes first being vulnerable or trusting another person:-

How do I know if I can trust some-one enough to be vulnerable…?

How to build trust without ever risking being vulnerable.

The book uses the mnemonic of BRAVING as a tool to use with your team on developing trust.

B = Boundaries

R = Reliability

A = Accountability

V = Vault

I = Integrity

N = Non-judgemental

G = Gratitude

If you were to use the inventory on yourself, it might well read something like this.

Did I respect my boundaries, did I rely on my self or my self talk, did I not share anything inappropriate, did I choose courage over discomfort, did I ask for help when I needed and was I generous to myself”

The final part of the book is the ability to learn to rise, therefore learning how to fall before you jump. The first lessons that sky divers learn is how to fall without a harding landing. We must rise from failure and be experienced with falling and rising.

The last word has to go to Brown “Choose courage over comfort, choose whole hearts over armour and choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid at the same time.”

Please do get in touch for any nugget workshops or colourful coaching bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Relationships

Marble jar friends…

This Friday we will be reviewing the best selling book “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown.

The story from the book I want to share is about trust which features in both books Daring Greatly and Dare to Lead. It explores why we have low trust in organisations and sometimes with our friends. Working from home we can feel isolated so how do we reach out and show that we are still very much there for our friends and colleagues and build trust.

Brown describes a system that her daughter’s school teacher created called the marble jar. If the class as a group made a good decision they had a marble added to a clear jar that was visible to all of them. If they made a bad decision then the marble was taken out. The transparency of the marbles showed whether the classroom had a good “vibe”, was it a nice place to be.

In the book Brown’s daughter comes home from school after an incident where some of her friends shared something she did not want them to share. Brown used the marble jar as an example and asked her daughter – “Who are your “Marble Jar Friends?” She asked her daughter to talk about the “Marble Jar Friends” and say what had they done to earn her trust and friendship, (and a marble).

Her daughter came back with the smallest of ways:-

  • saving a seat at lunchtime
  • remembering the names of her grandparents

Brown found this a revelation that Trust is not gained by the big gestures in can be incremental as above, and it can be the small behaviours that will matter the most.

In her research Brown said that participants described trust as slow building and a layered process that happens over time. The chicken and egg scenario- do we need to trust to be vulnerable or do we need to be vulnerable in order to build trust.

Think over the last month what have your friends done that have earned marbles in your jar of accumulating trust. Colleagues may well have reached out to you even though they are not in your team, but just wanted to put a marble in your jar.

If you are leader how many marbles do you give out and do you track the marbles you receive from your team. Trust underpins all of our relationships so get with the currency of marbles…

Please do come to the book club this Friday @ 10.00am, send me an email and I will get you booked in bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, mindfulness, motivation, Relationships

Colourful coaching…

At nuggets we deliver colourful coaching, a visual map of the clients words and their thinking by using different coloured post-it notes.

I qualified as a CTI Co-active coach and was very happy with the techniques, however I wanted to put my nuggets stamp on it. I have worked with Coaches myself and the ones that resonated with me were the ones who used visuals.

Not everyone is visual although everyone needs a reminder a memory snapshot for the coaching to be effective. Coaches make notes during or after the session and sometimes they capture the essence, my belief in the colourful coaching methodology is that it works brilliantly as it is in the here and now.

Coaching is all about the quality of listening and being sure to hear the words the client uses, just a change of one word can alter a meaning. Using the word “rubbish” and “terrible” definitely have different levels of impact. We listen with our eyes and our heart and can ask about the emotion behind the words but only at the right moment.

The relationship between the coach and the client is like a dancing partner. The client always chooses the dance and always leads the dance, however the coach is there as a partner on the dance floor. As a partner you can help navigate around other people on the dance floor and ask how they are feeling and if they are enjoying the dance or do they want to do another. The rhythm and movement of the coach and client must be comfortable and enjoyable.

The best coaches are the ones that are outside of the company and industry, the lack of knowledge is beneficial in giving guidance and opinion when appropriate that does not come with any hidden agenda. “You can reach for the stars” in a coaches eyes as they do not have a vested interest in your performance they are being paid to coach you, so that you can reach the potential you desire.

Colourful coaching is one hour and currently via Zoom. The first two sessions need to be within a fortnight of each other so that rapport is established, and going forward the Client can determine how often they need to meet up. In the virtual world of Zoom it is advisable to meet more often.

Using a board the post-it notes are displayed behind the coach creating a journey of the session. The board acts as a great summary and most importantly a record of the session. Photos of the post-its are sent to the client.

We ask before the next session the client sends their nuggets and actions. nuggets are the key learnings which will make the most difference.

The cost of colourful coaching is £100 and we would love to start working with you on any of the following or something that is relevant to you now:-

  • How to be effective working from home…? self motivation/discipline
  • Beating procrastination and being effective
  • Self confidence
  • New to Leadership
  • Presentation coming up – want some guidance on how to have impact
  • Career change

Please do get in touch bev@nuggetoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

The essence of the 7 Habits

Many know the best selling business title “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey. People live by the habits and can name them easily, although how many remember the first part of the book the very essence.

Covey could see that much had been written about Personality Ethic in self help books, how to improve time management, communication and other outside skills. He believed that you needed to start from the inside, you needed to change your character first.

The book starts with him describing him and his wife worrying about their son. They can see that he is not doing well academically or on the sporting field. They realise after a long period that there is nothing wrong with their son, it is their perception and other people’s perceptions. They need to work on their own characters to see their son differently. It took a long time of understanding that they were looking at the measure of success for parenting shared by others and themselves and not loving their son’s uniqueness.

Real change comes from the inside out. Trying to master external techniques without altering your thinking and yourself as a person, will not bring many fruits.

Other examples of working on the inside out approach are:-

  • To create a happier marriage, be the person who creates the positive energy needed to create a happier marriage instead of empowering negative energy
  • If you want to have a more cooperative and pleasing teenager, be a more understanding, empathic and loving parent.
  • If you want people to trust you more, be more trustworthy to people.

The inside-out approach says that it is futile to try to accomplish better relationships (something external) without having changed the internal (your character).

The character ethic is based on the idea that there are fundamental principles to live your life by eg. 10 commandments. Values are more personal and also define your character.

An example:-

  • Thou shall not steal – (principle)
  • Honesty (value)

We can work on our attitudes and behaviours, however Covey says far better to look at paradigms “perceptions, assumptions our frame of reference”. Another way to look at paradigms is to see them as maps. They can be split into two categories “The way things really are “Reality”…and “The way things should be …”Values”.

We see our own paradigms not as it is but as we are. What we see is highly interwoven as to who we are. Being is seeing. We can’t go very far to change our seeing without simultaneously changing our being.

In order to improve ourselves we look within and work on our character and our paradigms. To make a major change we may need a paradigm shift. If the paradigm is the lens through which we see the world the shift might be instant or it maybe slow and deliberate process.

Examples of paradigms shifts:-

  • email replacing the way we communicated before
  • Photographic film to digital

The book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is about a principle centred, character based “inside out” approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness. “Inside out” means to start with self, your paradigms, your character and your values. It is futile to put personality ahead of character, you will never improve a relationship unless you improve yourself first.

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, motivation

Measuring happiness…

Happiness can be interpreted in different ways by all of us, and is it possible to measure it? We have a good idea when we are happy as the chemicals in our brain release the endorphins, however do we ensure that it is happening regularly.

The first step is to recognise what does make you happy.

Dr Steve Peters the author of the Chimp Paradox gives a really easy way to look at:-

  • Immediate happiness
  • Delayed happiness

Make a list of everything that immediately makes you happy:-

  • Cup of coffee
  • Glass of red wine
  • Long walk (with or without the dog)
  • Watching your favourite TV show
  • Reading a good book

Everyone will have a list unique to them, and worth taking time to reflect on what does give you immediate happiness. The joy is that you can adjust your quickly, and the fact you have it on the list is that psychologically you recognise it is an activity that you enjoy. At the end of the day how many times have you rewarded yourself with immediate happiness.

Delayed happiness is events that you plan, so might look something like this

  • Meeting up with some mates for coffee
  • Walking with a friend
  • Game of tennis/golf/squash
  • Cinema (outdoor currently)

The delay creates anticipation and often the wait makes it all the more enjoyable. It is good to create your own delayed happiness not just the planning of others that you buy into.

Start to be action orientated around making yourself happy, as no-one will do it for you.

Tracking each day as to what has made you happy will reinforce the behaviour. Start by journalling the days events this may well give you new items to add to your list.

Make yourself happy and measure it constantly…

Please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Goals, Learning, motivation, training

Back to school…

Using “Back to school” as a metaphor for business what does it mean for us…

New Uniform

We might well be staying the same, as per working from home, therefore do we need a new uniform. It is not just about the clothes we wear it is the mindset we put on every morning. Do you feel positive about the future and do you believe that you are still developing and growing. Every morning you wake up you choose the attitude you decide to put on. Susan Jeffers quoted in her book “Feel the Fear and do it anyway” if you wake up in “pain” you will stay in “pain” all day. Whereas if we decide to pop “power” on, we will have a very different day. Think about what you need to look good inside and outside and remember you make the choices.

New Timetable

September is a good time to change your schedule, the days are changing it is already getting darker earlier, therefore do you start the day earlier? What new routines and rituals are you going to factor into your week. Map out the month of September and decide what will be a weekly or a daily discipline. Most importantly remember to write it down.

New Teachers

Who are you going to work with in September? Reach out to new Clients and new businesses that you have never reached out to before. Try different sectors and industries, be open minded about who you want to work with.

New Subjects

What new skills and development do you want to start? Think about mind/body and soul, develop your whole self. Set yourself a monthly goal to ensure that you remember to focus on it. James Clear the writer of “Atomic Habits’ says remember it is important to start, it is better to run for 10 minutes than to not run at all. Get started and you will then begin to embody the identity of the habit you wish to develop.

New Friends

Existing colleagues and new colleagues, reach out of your comfort zone and attend new webinars, virtual workshops and new meetings. See if you can meet a new person each week or month, set it up as a challenge.

Please do contact me if you would like to attend the nuggets book club starting this Friday at 10.00am when we will be reviewing the book “Eat that Frog”.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Learning

Getting to know your Chimp…

The excellent book by Dr. Steve Peters “The Chimp Paradox” explains the principal of mind management.

In essence Peters explains how we have three areas of the mind:-

  • The Human
  • The Chimp
  • The Computer

The Human brain is the area of the Prefrontal where logic can be applied and rational thinking . The limbic part of the brain is where your Chimp lives. The Human and Chimp have very different minds.

The Chimp is a Chimp, it can be good and it can be bad it thinks independently, it is an emotional machine and you have to learn how to manage it.

Brain scans can show us where blood supply goes in certain situations and you can see from these scans who is in control. If you are highly anxious the blood supply goes to the limbic brain where your Chimp is. Feeling calm and rational you will see the blood supply in the prefrontal part of the brain.

The Chimp is a bit like owning a dog you are responsible for its behaviour but not for its nature. The secret is to learn how to live with it and manage it.

The Computer is the balance of the two minds, it is where experiences are stored and the memories are saved. This is extremely helpful for both the Chimp and Human to remember what worked and what didn’t work.

The Human has a personality centre where you work with facts and truths. The Chimp has a jungle centre where it works with emotions and feelings. The Chimp Paradox is the fact that your Chimp can be your best friend or your worst enemy, you have to live with it and manage it.

Posted in Bite size learning, Stress management, Time management, training

Eat that frog…

Eat that frog … and fight procrastination, the book by Brian Tracy, gives really practical steps as to break free from limiting patterns of behaviour:-

  • Be clear about what you want to achieve
    • How much money do you wish earn a month?
    • How much is guaranteed income?
    • Do you know how much money comes in and out?
    • What do you cost a day?
    • You must value your time and others will to…!
  • Remember why you are doing what you are doing
    • Photos of your family
    • What is the money for…?
    • Give the dream a number…!
  • Break it down
    • Bite size chunks – never eat a banana whole
    • The next action is – keep the momentum
  • Everything has a deadline – impose it
    • Give everything a date
    • Remember accountants have fines
    • Make the deadline public
  • Be serious
    • Work at the best time for you
    • Be in the zone – focus
    • Be serious about yourself and others will be as well
  • Plan in advance
    • What do you want to achieve each day?
    • Decide on a start and end date
  • Be tough
    • Book time with yourself
  • Just do it
    • Eat that frog – always best to swallow whole if eating a live frog
    • Remember to grade your tasks – A/B and C’s
    • C’s rarely get done – that is OK

Go on “Eat that Frog” today

Posted in Bite size learning, Goals, Learning, motivation, training

Make learning stick… why does it matter?

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught” – Churchill

Make learning stick, why does it matter, if you can learn something in your short term memory and ace a test is that all that matters.  Why does learning something long term really matter? 

As in the Churchill quote we can all recall a bad learning experience, the teacher spoke at you and your brain drifted with the result none of the information was retained.

My own experience of learning can possibly explain why it matters and why I try so hard to make learning stick for others.

I did not learn to read until I was 10 years old, it just did not stick.  The concept did not seem fun and no-one really explained what it would give me.  There is an assumption that you understand what reading will give you, however at infant school age, painting a picture or diving into the dressing up box seemed to me far more enticing.

I started on the Peter and Jane books and then seem to spend an eternity on some Pirate books.  I am not even sure to this day why the Pirates were used and if I am honest I don’t think I even knew fully what a Pirate was.  

We were encouraged to take the book home and practice with our parents, there was no diary to monitor whether this happened and therefore no structure.  As you can imagine those Pirate books stayed in my bag and were only read at school.

Once you have hindered your own development you get labelled very quickly.  My lack of reading made all my other subjects harder and before I knew it I was in the “Learning difficulties group”.  I can now laugh at the title, but at the time they used to call that title out openly in the class “All those for the Learning Difficulties Group follow Miss Webster…”).  

Over a period of time you then develop a fixed mindset around your experience.  I was the third daughter “the creative one”, I did not need to be the clever one, so it was OK not to be fantastic in class.  Professor Carol Dweck’s brilliant book on Mindset explains that it is easier not to stretch yourself if that is the role you are fulfilling.  Whereas some-one with a growth mindset will constantly put themselves at stretch and reach out for new opportunities and risks. 

The reasons I was not mastering reading could be summarised as follows:-

  • The benefits were not understood 
  • The concept was not fun 
  • The resource (books) were of no interest
  • Fixed mindset around reading 
  • No structured practices 

I guess you are now all wondering whether I am still on the Pirate books and how I turned it around.

I was very lucky as there was that one teacher who made it her mission to get me to read.  Instead of sending the “Learning difficulty group” out of the class she focused on them within the class.  We all had times with her where we read out loud whilst the others were working with a gentle hum, therefore no public humiliation.  She set up the right space and comfort level to make it happen.

With me specifically she commented on how expressive I was, and how good I was at reading out loud.  She had spotted a talent within the confusion of interpreting the words.   She also selected books specific to each child or encouraged us to bring books into school.

The book that made it all happen ironically was “George don’t do that…” by Joyce Grenfell.  It was funny and was littered with illustrations and somehow just clicked, it was the first book I read on my own.  

I now understood what reading could give me and I have never been without a book a testament to the struggle to get there.

What was it that finally made the learning stick?

  • Being encouraged and identifying a talent other than reading
  • The right environment, making learning comfortable
  • Being given choices and making it relevant to me (individualised) 
  • Regular practice and a routine that became normal and comfortable
  • Developing a growth mindset (where would reading take me) 

Making learning stick is all about the experience, the memory and the relevance.