At this time of year, it seems everyone is setting goals, making plans, celebrating successes and feeling energised about the year ahead.
But what if you’re not? What if the new year stretched out before you makes you feel overwhelmed or just plain bored by it all? Do you feel inspired, or do you feel panicky or inadequate, wondering where your enthusiasm has gone? Does 2020 feel less of a walk-in-the-park and more of an uphill climb?
Fear of missing out
Whilst I’m all for aspirational goal-setting, I also know that this time of year can, at best, bring on FOMO, and at worst leave you feeling inadequate and lacking confidence in your role. Especially if you’ve just emerged exhausted from juggling work and Christmas, and feeling like you need a break (there’s a reason why holiday companies are so busy at this time of year!)
Maybe you’re a manager with a team looking to you for direction and inspiration? Maybe you’ve taken stock and decided that this is a year for change, but you’re not quite sure how to move from where you are to where you want to be? Have you got the inkling of a business idea but not sure how to make the next move?
Sometimes, the solution can be something as simple as booking a holiday, finding a new hobby or having a go at setting some goals of your own. Or you may be feeling bold, ready to shake things up and look for a new role? Whatever your next move, it can really help to talk to someone about your dreams and ideas – often expressing them is the first step to realising them.
Working with a professional coach can be a great first step towards changing direction. A coach can help you make sense of your ideas, helping to ignite the spark needed to regain your motivation and start to prioritise being the best you. As an experienced coach, I use simple strategies to help you feel productive, satisfied and confident to make the next move. I work with individuals and teams to help people like you reach their true potential.
Why not try these 3 simple steps to get you started?
- At the end of each week, ask yourself 2 simple questions: ‘What went well this week?’, followed by, ‘What could I have done differently or better?’ This simple reflective strategy allows you to identify the whats and hows of your week: what was it about that conversation/meeting/intervention that inspired or excited me? What behaviours or skills did I display?.
- Once you’ve completed step 1, can you identify your own skills and strengths in these scenarios? Write them down. Did your communication style help? Maybe you implemented some new learning? Was it your knowledge of the subject that led to the situation going well? If you are feeling brave, ask others for their thoughts. Capture feedback from clients, colleagues or managers that might come your way via emails, appraisals and testimonials.
- Do something FUN! Do something just for you and just for fun. Then make a habit of it! Boost those feel-good hormones by doing something that puts a smile on your face. Go back to an old teenage hobby, join a choir, get a monthly cinema pass, get creative, draw, make music, play sport. Anything that sparks joy.
Your past is not your potential. In any hour, you can choose to liberate the future (Marilyn Ferguson)
Why choose LifeMatters?
I’m an experienced coach, with an uncomplicated, straightforward approach to helping you shape and achieve your goals. I provide practical guidance and support, delivered with energy and humour. I’ll work with you and help you become the best version of yourself. What’s more, if you book four sessions with me by February 14th 2020, you’ll receive the 5th session for free!
Contact me today to find out how LifeMatters Coaching can help you.
*New year offer – book 4 x 1 hour sessions and get a 5th session FREE! Offer ends Feb 14th 2020, so book now – limited spaces available*
The art of the self-soothe – remembering to relax & wind down this week:
As Christmas approaches, are you reflecting on the year that has passed? Or even the decade? It’s been quite a turbulent few years in which the world has developed at an incredible pace, especially in technology. We are more connected than ever before, with a multitude of social platforms to choose from. Yet for many of us this can also present overwhelming challenges.
At this time of year, emotions can run high as we rush to complete projects at work, attend various school or social events, plan the ‘perfect’ Christmas celebrations, and present that ‘competent and confident’ persona at all times.
So, amidst the noise, how can you process your place in the world and begin to think about what lies ahead? How do you measure success or satisfaction at work or in relationships? What plans for your future excite you and drive you forward?
Many of us don’t have the luxury of a fjord nearby but there is growing evidence of the benefit of being amongst trees. They’re believed to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, and even give off an immune-boosting chemical. Getting outdoors, going for a walk and a having a change of scenery can be a great way to give yourself a mental break and refresh. I often incorporate this into my coaching sessions, as I find it’s a great way to help people relax and shift into a different mindset, often prompting exciting, creative or ambitious ideas that we then work on turning into reality.With a nod to the winter landscape, in the UK we often take inspiration from our Nordic cousins. The Norwegians have a slightly ironic phrase, ‘føling i fjæra’ – which (I’m assured) roughly translates as ‘feeling emotional while staring out to sea (or a fjord)’. Sometimes just being with your emotions can help to reflect on how we’re feeling, what we’ve achieved or what hasn’t gone quite the way we hoped it would. Without that time and space we run the risk of going through the motions, like a hamster on a wheel. But with all the pressures of modern life, this can lead to stress and burnout.
As the decade draws to a close, you may wish to think about new beginnings, or consolidating something you’ve been working on already. How can you build on your achievements as you head into 2020? Maybe you’re thinking of changing direction or facing a new challenge. Whether you’re staring out to sea, walking in the woods or having a cosy moment at home, now is a good time to slow down, step back, reflect on the past and think about the new year.
To find out how Life Matters Coaching can help you find the right balance in your work, your personal life and your business, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.
There are many ways of communicating with our peers, team, friends & family…each question we pose we hope to get the ‘right’ response. But what if we aren’t getting the full picture, an honest answer or reaching the heart of an issue…..could we do more by changing the words and phrases we use…?
Most of us acknowledge the usual ‘rules’ of constructive verbal communication –
- Pose open questions to gain more insight…a fuller picture
- Adopt positive, friendly & open body language to build rapport
- Make time to really listen to the other person
- Allow a fluid conversation with minimal interruption and no pre-judged questions or inputs
- Practise active listening to allow the other person to feel heard, understood and valued
By going that little bit deeper, making more time and building a relationship with someone, we can elicit so much more. Being conscious about our language also helps us to have a meaningful two-way conversation. Recent academic research by EY in the US (The Belonging Barometer 2018 https://www.ey.com/en_us/diversity-inclusiveness/ey-belonging-barometer-workplace-study) found that from a study of 1,000 American working adults, the action that gave all respondents the greatest sense of belonging (at work/to the organisation) was regular check-ins.
Note the phrase: check-in and not check-up. The check-in can offer:
- A way of establishing an equal two-way conversation avoiding the more formal hierarchy of a check-up
- It can often start with a simple query about your colleagues life away from work to let them know they are valued as a person not just as a ‘worker’. This is opposite to the KPI or performance type questions in a check-up
- A chance to focus on the positive and reflect in a non-judgmental learning way as opposed to being ‘held to account’ during a PDR
- A facilitated more coaching conversation where your colleague or team member has space and time to problem solve for themselves and be creative & innovative
Some examples of more open check-in questions could be:
- What was your favourite part of today/the recent project we did/yesterday’s team meeting..?
- What’s working well for you/the team at the moment..?
- What could we do differently in our team/across the organisation/in this project..(to gain a different or more positive outcome)
- When do you feel most challenged at work..?
- When do you feel most passionate at work..?
- What resources/networks/skills do you need to be successful in X project or task..?
- How can I support you..?
Perhaps you have your own ideas on check-in questions you use with your colleagues and team members – ask yourself: Are they working for me, my team and the wider organisation…? Have a think about refining and evolving your practice if required.
If you don’t use a check-in process currently, start small and simply use 2 or 3 questions similar to the above, then move onto more familiar ground with your usual PDR/performance questions. You may gain new insights which help the rest of your meeting.
If you would like support in helping you and your teams have more constructive, positive and beneficial conversations at work, get in touch for a chat to see how coaching can help.
Has the recent warm spell put you in the holiday mood? Is your mind on distant shores or lazy afternoons in the garden? Are you summer ready?
Magazines are bursting with advice on getting in tip-top shape for summer, but what about the bits of you no one can see? Here at LifeMatters, we believe in taking care of what’s on the inside, strengthening your inner resources and giving your mind a workout. That’s why we’ve come up with our alternative summer survival guide.
Vacation or staycation?
Even if you’re not planning to get away, summer can provide an opportunity to slow down and take time to reflect on where you are and where you want to be. A staycation can be just as rewarding as a far-flung trip, especially if you can find time to get outdoors and re-connect with the world. Boost your well-being by trying some of these activities – they can be great stress-relievers too.
If you are heading off on holiday, a little bit of distance from your day-to-day life can be a great way to get new perspectives and fresh ideas. (Although, family holidays can add a whole new set of distractions into the mix!)
Whatever your plans, at home or away, here are our top tips to inspire you to get summer-ready:
1.Be prepared: Build some resilience into your summer. Develop your emotional inner-core to support you during set-backs and slow times. Be open to new experiences and learn from them, taking them on your journey and beyond.
2.Get packing: What do you need for the journey or task in hand? Gather those essential resources together, building your network and making sure you have all the necessary tools.
3.Sun protection: We all know the importance of slapping on the SPF, but how about protecting ourselves when life isn’t necessarily plain-sailing? Smother on just enough self-belief to prepare you for possible knocks and negativity on your journey.
4.Be your own tour guide: Develop your personal road-map to guide and signpost you along the way, helping you get the most out of your adventure.
5.Relax: Imagine sundowners on the beach…. A moment to pause, reflect and celebrate the amazing things you’ve seen, done or experienced so far. Toast your successes and embrace what’s still to come.
To find out how LifeMatters Coaching can help guide you on your journey, contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
Have a great summer!
Many business, enterprise & self-improvement websites contain ‘Top Ten Tips’ type articles about establishing and maintaining great working relationships, all containing relevant sensible advice which we need from time to time. After all, we typically spend more time at work (awake) than we do at home.
We know that workplace interactions are often intense because the stakes are high, especially if you are a business owner working with very few staff, or reliant on mutual collaborative relationships.
So what can we do?
A business relationship is just like any other relationship. It requires some effort to maintain & it must be mutually beneficial. In a relationship with friends or family, we are told we must be willing to give, share & support, not just take or receive. It’s the same for working relationships, and employer/employee relationships too.
www.Inc.com quotes 6 key steps to building better business relationships:
- Encourage honest feedback
- Listen more than you talk
- Make a routine to connect & maintain contact
- Give more than you receive & be proactive in the relationship
- Be authentic
- Be ‘present’ & have face to face time where possible
Here’s a very simple exercise we can all do in just 5 minutes that takes a look at our relationships in an honest way – click here.
With awareness comes the opportunity to make a change- we have options to help us repair and improve a relationship:
To do this take some time for self-reflection and consider the following:
- Understanding of the other person’s agenda / their issues / their life
- Leave the ego at the door
Finally, try using one of these 4 options to fully resolve the issue:
- Negotiate using your new found appreciation of the other person’s character; limits; their agenda etc
- Resist their impact on you as you develop your increased self-appreciation
- Accept the situation with a detached perspective
- Get Out if it cannot be turned around
Working with a neutral person such as a coach can help you to repair personal and work based relationships, and open up communication channels for smoother, more positive and productive collaborations. Make contact today for an informal chat about how coaching can benefit you or your organisation.