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

Bren√© 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 Change management, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact

My week with the – The Kindness Method

Last week the nuggets book club reviewed “The Kindness Method” by Shahroo Izadi. As I prepared for the event on the Friday I undertook the exercises myself so that I felt the content had landed and that I understood how to implement the theory.

The author Shahroo Izadi studied psychological sciences and then psychology becoming an assistant psychologist at an NHS substance misuse centre. However the most relevant fact about Shahroo is her battle over her weight which lasted for two decades. It was not until she implemented the Kindness Method on herself that she lost 8 stone and most importantly she has kept it off ever since.

My own journey last week started with the “Snapshot Letter” this is the first exercise where you asked to right a letter to yourself explaining what is going on now. My own personal perspective was around the discipline of work, being healthy and not being overwhelmed by worries around my family.

The main tool that the book draws on is mapping thoughts. You put the central theme in the middle and populate the map with everything that comes to mind.

  1. Ways I’m Happy to be – the first map which you fill with characteristics of yourself, the book provides suggestions, and the advice is go for quantity. Here are a few of mine:-
    • Warm
    • Creative
    • Loving
    • Positive
  2. What I’m Proud of – things that you have achieved from any size, some of mine were the nuggets brand to staying positive through lockdown.
  3. When I’m in the zone – this map should be filled with all the times you have been truly “on it” where were you, what were you doing, why did everything feel so right? On the back of this map answer these 2 questions:-
    • Do these situations you have put on your map have anything in common? If so what are they?
    • Based on what you have written down to create your perfect conditions what would you have to alter about your normal routine now?

These 3 maps put you in a great positive mindset and they are your starting point of change.

4. What hasn’t worked – This map is beginning to identify your resistance, my two big AHA moments were brave and thinking BIG

5. Conversations about me – This is a hard one to write. What have you heard said about you, what have you said about yourself, what do you think about yourself? We are really cruel and this is where you can write it down and hopefully leaves your head landing on the paper. Here are two of mine:-

  • I am not bold or brave enough to change the business
  • I am not focused enough

6. Some-one I love – What would you say to some-one you love? Of course it will look nothing like the cruel dialogue we say to ourselves. I chose my daughter who has just turned 18 years old and I filled the map with all the things I wish for her now and dream of for her. It was the easiest map to complete!

7. This is not a map but key questions to try and get you to focus in a nutshell what it is you need to work on or change:-

I want to do more of…

I want to less of …

I want to be more…

I want to be less…

I want to start…

I want to stop….

In a nutshell – in one sentence say what all the answers are saying:-

I will think big about the business, learning and developing new material all the time by delivering more workshops and coaching.

8. What’s the Harm? – if you don’t change what will happen. The business will look the same next year and the year after.

9. Why haven’t I changed already? – most of my answers had the word “small” in them which again kept leading me to this overall change in thinking. Think Big and talk Big.

10. Developing new strategies – studying the map of “Why I haven’t changed already?” makes you realise that it is you and only you that can make the change. My realisation that my lifestyle and childcare made it very easy to think small. I am aware that everything is comfortable and entering a world of discomfort has been putting me off.

11. Journalling – Take responsibility for what is happening in your life by recording the days events. What are you grateful for? What tested you? How would you respond in the future? This has been my morning ritual for over a month and it pays dividends in a sense of calm and well being, an observer of you and all that you are grateful for.

12. Worry snapshots – capture those tiny little niggles even say them into your phone, once you say them out loud they have gone…

13 What will test me – back to the maps, what will really test your resolve

14 How it’s most important for me to be? – This is a summary of how important this is from a strangers perspective or your family, or even an imaginary film star playing you… I chose to hear what my family would say in 6 months. This was the turning point of the week, I got really excited about what I wanted them to see and hear from me. It really mattered and I really wanted it to start now!

15. Life if I don’t make the changes – dated (6 months time)

16. Life if I do make the changes – (6 months time) – don’t just write the opposite think about what you want it to look like. My big is not about the size on monetary aspect of the business my big is about the depth – meaningful work, making a difference and understanding that is a huge selling point and enormously rewarding (BIG language)!!!

17. Affirmations – that support your change, and saying them out loud everyday

  • My business is thriving
  • I am kind to myself and others
  • I will challenge myself to think BIG all the time

18. The Plan – What are you committing to, capture and log a review date of 3 weeks time.

19. No more excuses – another map to recognise some of your inner dialogue that has been trying to stop you

  • Covid
  • The business is OK – why change
  • Energy/Age

20. Testing myself on purpose – we all have those habits that we know are going to derail so be ready for them and put yourself in the frame to test yourself.

In summary my week of living with The Kindness Method made me feel good about myself and my business. At times it felt very indulgent however the mindset and outcomes are superb. The Plan started on Thursday and nuggets and I are thriving.

Please do get in touch if you would like one to one coaching bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Please do watch the video of the book review: – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2PGtK9Kijs&t=19s

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, 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, Change management, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Goals

Better & Better decisions…

“Thinking in bets” is the book by Annie Duke a professional poker player. The exercise of decision making under conditions of uncertainty aligns with the game of Poker where you make decisions under conditions of uncertainty.

High quality decisions are like investments in life.

View every decision as a bet and you become more open minded.

“Are you certain you will enjoy the book?” – some-one wants to bet with you that you won’t. You then begin to challenge your beliefs, what information do I need or what am I missing? What does this person know about the book that I don’t?

Suddenly you are more open minded as you have so much more information about the book, favourable and unfavourable. You have lost your bias and you have made yourself more open to new information.

This approach to decisions, beginning to look at them like bets, means we embrace objectivity and we make better decisions.

Duke’s other principle is to think about expected value. Calculate the expected reward and the outcome. Is it worth watching the film for 2 hours or meeting a friend for coffee for 1 hour and then exercising for the other hour. Think about the time, money and attention and committ with confidence if the expected value works for you at that moment in time. Assess your decision by how much you are investing Vs expected value.

We get better decisions if we evaluate their success and their failure. We could make a terrible decision and get good results by being lucky. However if we have just haphazardly got lucky this would not be a good pattern to follow.

We should evaluate the positive and the negative, so if you make a decision and get a good result, think what two mistakes you made. This creates the mindset of process focused rather than results focused.

“What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process” Annie Duke

We are making decisions in uncertain times so what can we apply from Duke’s theory:-

  • Make a decision imagining it is a bet – ignore your bias and be open minded
  • Weigh up the expected value with how much time or money you are investing
  • Evaluate all decisions – it is the process not the result

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, motivation, Relationships

Self motivation…

The force that drives you to get stuff done… The definition sounds easy enough however to get the drive and the force to keep going is hard.

We have all had to self motivate, we don’t even have the discipline of a commute the deadline of travel.

Self motivation is the driver but you need the passenger of self discipline sitting alongside and encouraging you with a rigour and a structure.

Motivation is intrinsic and extrinsic and we need both working together to push us forward. Intrinsic comes from within us as to what we want to achieve and is the most fulfilling as we have set our own targets. Extrinsic is the external rewards, such as money and status.

A key component of emotional intelligence is self motivation, knowing what gets you out of bed in the morning. Daniel Goleman the author of numerous books on the subject says it has four components:-

  1. Achievement
  2. Commitment to your goals
  3. Initiative to seek out new opportunities
  4. Optimism that you will achieve

We are more likely to be motivated if we have set our own personal standards, we can follow other peoples standards however the motivation level will be low.

Scott Geller, psychologist says ask yourself three questions:-

  1. Can you do it?
  2. Will it work?
  3. Is it worth it?

The first question asks for self efficacy (your belief in capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments).

The second question is your ability to way up the consequences, positive and negative and still not be deterred.

The final question weighs up everything, achievement, effort, consequences and result.

Geller also says you can evaluate against the 4 C’s:-

  • Consequences
  • Competence
  • Choice (level of autonomy)
  • Commuity (support from others)

So in order to be self motivated we need to set our own personal standards and be able to evaluate ourselves. To gain deep fulfilment we need to evoke passion find the drive within ourselves and not wait for others to give it to us.

The skills needed to self motivate:-

  1. Set personal goals and targets
  2. Introduce an element of risk – put the goals at stretch so you grow
  3. Seek feedback so that you improve
  4. Be committed to them – be disciplined
  5. Seek out new opportunities
  6. Manage setbacks and obstacles – do not get demotivated for long

The next step is to maintain your self motivation which can be the hardest part of the change you wish to make. Ironically today I watch the TED Talk on “Master Procrastinator” before writing a blog on self motivation.

Maintaining self motivation:-

  1. Continuous learning
  2. Surround yourself with motivated and supportive people
  3. Positive mindset and a growth mindset
  4. Harness your strengths
  5. Beat the procrastination
  6. Ask for help when you need it

Working from home has pushed us into self motivation at a deeper level and employers have trusted us far more than ever before. To continue to have the flexibility of working from home we will now have to share our personal standards on self motivation and self discipline.

There is no time like the present to talk with your line manager about the structuring of your day and the future goals you wish to attain.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on self motivation bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk