Forgive the indulgence, the blog is of a very personal nature this week.
One of my “Best” friends died five days ago and it puts everything into perspective. What is the definition of “Best”. The dictionary says exceptional or outstanding which I think is perfect to define what you get from a really brilliant friendship.
The list is endless:-
- Best listener
- Best times to be had and full of laughter
- Best walker – with knowledge of all the Surrey Hills
- Best organiser – parties, events and fund raiser
- Best at giving an honest opinion
- Best advice – on parenting and life
- Best in giving – whether it be plants, time and numerous coffees
The synopsis stills feels inadequate in terms of the void it leaves. Think about what are the best things about you that you give your friends. Your self worth will grow knowing what your best attributes are and what you give others.
Cherish the best in friends and family as you may well be robbed without ever telling them what the best was.
What does “press the button” actually mean?
In classic experiments on stress, people performed tasks that required concentration, like solving puzzles, whilst being blasted at random intervals with uncomfortably loud sounds. The individuals started sweating and their heart rates and blood pressure climbed. They struggled to concentrate and made mistakes and many just gave up. Searching for a way to reduce the anxiety, researchers gave the participants an escape. If the noise became too unpleasant they could press a button and make the noise stop. The button allowed them to stay calmer and make fewer mistakes. The most surprising result was that no-one pressed the button. Knowing they could stop the noise gave them a sense of control and allowed them to endure the stress.
This story comes from the book Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. In the book they put the button into another context. Grant a lecturer sadly had a student who committed suicide and he regretted he had not spotted the signs of stress earlier. He struggled for a long time to overcome any guilt. To move forward he started every lecture by ensuring his mobile number was clearly displayed in the class, in effect this was the button.
Do you provide a button to your team, do they know that support is there. Think how you can instigate the button within your organisation. Coaching and mentoring being formalised could provide buttons. Buddy schemes for new recruits, and always ensuring your team members have a line manager who conducts regular 1:1 meetings. Larger organisations have well being help lines and by ensuring the number is displayed provides the button security.
At home we now all have our mobile numbers, however do we provide a “button’ service in other ways. How often do you sit around a table and ensure you really listen to each other? This is the best “button” you can ever provide.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on Resilience firstname.lastname@example.org
Is the environment you work in demonstrating a good balance.
Balance could include gender, skills, and experience. The first stage is to look at your existing culture, do you welcome balance by having the right set of values.
If you are focusing purely on results then you might not be attracting the right employees. Everyone wants to be part of something successful, however if they realise that there is nothing underneath the figures and they will feel unsupported and they will not care for the organisation.
Values have to come to life, with rituals and habits attached to them. If you promote collaboration what does it look like? Cross functional teams working together and meeting on a regular basis.
The balance of giving back to your team and your team giving back to others. You have the people you want to work with and you are proud to work with others.
The Swedish football team Ostersunds believed in giving its team members so much more than just football skills. They wanted to open their minds to theatre, art and literature. These experiences were shared and putting them in unfamiliar situations grew their minds and enabled them to think differently. The team have written book, created art and worked with local refugee centres and put on a stage show of Swan Lake. They are now in the top league and won the Swedish cup in 2017.
Balance does not have to be seen through the lens of automatically assuming that means a gender match. We have many layers to our personalities that need to be uncovered whether we are male or female. The answer is fostering the environment that means you are able to be truly authentic.
An open atmosphere where there is no blame and mistakes are learnt from.
Creating balance is about identifying the things that matter most to you as team and investing together to make them come to life.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on balance for better email@example.com
We bring our children up to believe they can have everything. In schools we now give medals for partcipating, so the shock of hard work and results in the world of work are a surprise. What has eroded confidence before we enter business…?
Many of our children are gaming and constantly interacting with social media. We know that the addictive dopamine keeps their interest and whilst they compete for results they are rarely shared. In order to feel good instead of face to face feedback they are counting the number of likes on a post. Turning to a device instead of a person, means they lack the ability to form deep meaningful relationships. The approval of their peers to grow self esteem is coming from an electronic perspective and not a human.
In order to believe in ourselves we have to be happy in real life and not on our social media platforms.
Genuine praise and recognition takes time and is not an instant when we are in the work place. The younger generation have not learnt the ability to wait for anything, everything can be obtained immediately. You don’t even have to wait for the next episode you can download the whole box set. Instant gratification rather than waiting for a reward which would give us pleasure and contentment.
Job satisfaction is arduous, you have to work hard and build new relationships, you have to have patience. We find a lot of the younger generation want to quit straightaway as they have never had to wait before.
To survive in work we need a good self image and lots of feedback to grow our self esteem. This needs to be authentic and genuine.
Corporates are not helping to create the right environment for this generation. Companies are still very number orientated and there is very little investment in helping people to build confidence. We lack good leaders taking time to guide their direct reports. We need to develop social skills by role modelling, the little innocuous comments that make all the difference. “How’s your Dad?” Through these little asides trust is formed.
Social media plays with our confidence across all generations, watching your friends and family having a lovely life on a screen rather than being with them. We are social beasts, put down the phone and go and have lunch with a colleague.
Please do get in touch with nuggets on developing confidence “Fearless motivation” firstname.lastname@example.org
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid – most fear success more than failure”
– Sheryl Sandberg
Moving into 2019 what could you achieve if fear was not holding you back.
Where are you currently stuck?
- Where do you feel a sense of obligation?
- Where do you feel there is no choice?
- What is frustrating you?
- What are you putting up with?
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Complete the sentence “If I wasn’t afraid I would…”
Make a plan as to what you want 2019 to look like, what are you going to say yes to this year and what are you saying no to, with no fear attached.
“Some people want it to happen – some wish it would happen and others make it happen”
– Michael Jordan
I have this quote on my desk as I know it is only “me” that can make it happen. The way you think and feel about yourself has a much bigger impact on your life than you think.
Follow the pattern below to believe in yourself:-
- Positive self belief
- Positive & realistic expectations of what you want to achieve
- Constant achievements that are acknowledged
- Increased self esteem
Take time to acknowledge achievements on a weekly basis and review at the end of the month to then set goals for the next month. Record everything big and small to notice patterns of behaviour around your tasks eg. do you achieve more when you are busy, is your best work done at the start of the week…
We need to value ourselves, to transform our thinking into a positive regard. Think about your favourite people, their traits are probably qualities that you possess too. It is often much easier to see what is great in others. However what we admire in others is very often a projection of our own talents.
Moving into 2019 with high self regard and let go of any fear that has held you back.
Please do get in touch for 90 minutes learning workshops “nuggets” or one to one coaching email@example.com
Listening is a skill that needs to be practised and refined. We often think we are listening, however have we truly connected and deployed the skill required.
There are five levels of listening:-
Hopefully ignoring does not happen too often. Pretending can be easily slipped into, you can have all the right facial expressions however the button for listening has not been pressed.
Selective is the one that we save especially for the ones we love the most. Currently my husband loves nothing more than to tell me the latest on US politics. I tune in and out, bit like when you are trying to find the right radio station, every so often he relays something amazing and the rest of the time it is that annoying buzz you get from an untuned radio.
In work we are often actively listening which means we know we have to concentrate so we expertly follow and reflect the facts. It is a place of comfort however you are using a skill and need to practice regularly to check that you are not interrupting with direct questions and hijacking the other person’s agenda.
The top listening is empathetic which takes the most skill. You are not only attending, following and reflecting, you are also calibrating any non verbal indicators. As a coach I need to listen at this level and I know if it has been a good session when I feel exhausted and exhilarated. It is a privilege to listen and follow some-one else’s agenda however it is tiring if done correctly. The joy of being listened to often means you say the things you really want to say. We so rarely get a dam good listening.
As with any new skill keep practising…
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On Friday I was very lucky to attend a TEDx at Woking. The sponsor and host created a great atmosphere with the simplest of exercises.
He asked you take your phone out and show a picture that means something to you, to somebody you didn’t know.
I connected with a lady in front of me who shared a picture of her Mum with Reindeer ears on her head. She said the photo made her smile as her Mum had been ill recently and it was a lovely picture to show her better and laughing. In that 2 mins it took to show me that photo I connected immediately with a stranger.
It is rare now to be invited to get your phone out in a conference situation, however how effective to use technology as a basis for starting a conversation.
Imagine with all the stories we hear about troubled teenagers, we got them to use their devices to share and explain more, we would be connecting both worlds. There is a great deal of “tell” language in schools, the word “ban” and just even saying “no” is making technology more exciting than it is.
This really simple exercise was a great icebreaker but actually went to the very heart of who we are as people.