Peace during a Pandemic

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

13.3.20 I get it: Covid-19, its effect on our peace of mind and day to day life is awful and seems to be getting worse by the hour. I’ll get straight to it: while I mostly coach individuals on building their personal resilience, I also help business owners make sure their businesses are resilient. For business owners who are understandably concerned about the economic implications of Covid-19, I suggest asking yourself three powerful questions: 1) What have I been through before that was similar?  (e.g. foot and mouth, Brexit, financial crash, SARS, H1N1, add your own here).  You’ve managed before, you can do it again. 2) What is this teaching me? A powerful question that I mentioned in a recent post. It can stop a panic spiral in its tracks and enable real insight into what’s really going on from a macro-perspective. 3) Is there an opportunity for me here? For example: Is there an opportunity […]

Tired of caring?

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Nurses, Parenting, Resilience

There are many issues that can be brought to coaching. One that I am seeing a lot of recently is burnout caused by compassion fatigue.  This is a type of exhaustion and a reduced ability to empathize or feel compassion for others. It happens to people in caring professions because they are exposed to the sharp end of life every day at work.  They walk in the shoes of person who is suffering in order to understand what that person’s needs are.  As a result they endure what’s known as vicarious trauma. It happens to healthcare professionals, teachers, school principals and others.  It can happen to family carers too.  It’s very upsetting for them because they are naturally compassionate people.  Any difficulty they have with empathising feels like they are not themselves.  They start to doubt their ‘goodness’ – probably something they thrived on before. If you are in this […]

Everything going wrong?

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

You know those days, sometimes weeks, when everything seems to go wrong, fall, drop or break? Things that are usually embedded as habits and memories, just fall out of your head.  You forget important stuff you have had on your mind for ages beforehand.  Time moves faster unexpectedly and you find yourself late, and can’t believe how it happened?  You notice that things just aren’t panning out as they should. It can feel very disorientating.  You doubt your memory, your organisational skills or even your sanity. There are some perfectly logical explanations for this.  There is also one question that makes it all seem better and more manageable. Possible explanations: You are overtired or sleep deprived. You have been depriving your brain of the nutrients, hydration or oxygen it needs. You have said ‘Yes’ too many times instead of ‘No’ or ‘Wait’ You need to update your systems and habits […]

Honouring the urge to hibernate

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

Some say the holiday season is tough for them.  Most say early January is even harder.  It’s getting colder.  Sparkly decorations are gone.  Bank accounts are empty. I came across a beautiful post on Facebook the other week about what are bodies and minds yearn for in the depths of winter.  It explained that for weeks before and after the winter solstice, we are supposed to be resting, reflecting on the year gone, allowing our mind to gently move, at its own pace, towards the opportunities and hope of the spring season ahead. It described perfectly why our natural inclination is to sleep for more hours and get up later in the mornings; how winter is a time for ‘hibernation…for tired limbs’ and ‘burdened minds’. The author of the post goes on to say “Our modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, comfort food […]

Battleship vs Lighthouse

Posted Posted in Awakening, Business Coaching, Coaching, Resilience

One of the things that fuels a happy life is knowing what our values are. There is a story that often does the rounds on the internet, of the battleship out at sea.  The lookout reports to the Captain that there is a light in their sea-lane and it won’t move.  The Captain gets agitated and tries to exert his authority by stating his rank and commanding the other party to change course to avoid a collision.  The reply comes back – This is the Lighthouse.  Your move. We use this story a lot in coaching for various reasons, and one of them is as a metaphor for your values.  When you know what your true values are, they are your lighthouse. They don’t move. They are anchored fast to the ground.  Storms and even ships that are bigger in size can crash into the lighthouse or crash around it […]

How to control public speaking anxiety

Posted Posted in Awakening, Business Coaching, Coaching, Event, Resilience

If you have ever been nervous or anxious about public speaking, join the club – there are about 7.5 billion of us! Public speaking is often listed among the top causes of anxiety, but you can totally manage those nerves using your own physiology.  You don’t need medication, liquid courage or your favourite lucky charm in your pocket.  You already have what you need. Most of the anxiety during public speaking is caused or exacerbated by forgetting to breathe.  Our brain then goes into panic mode about that, which we interpret as panic about speaking. The average adult has a lung volume of about 6 litres of air. During normal breathing, when we are not thinking about it, we exchange about 500mls of air during each breath. However, when we focus and take a long slow deep breath, we exchange at least 3 litres of air. As we breathe in, our […]

Confidence follows courage

Posted Posted in Awakening, Business Coaching, Coaching, Resilience

I was privileged to be a guest speaker this week at the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust’s Annual Leadership Conference in Belfast this week, on the topic of how to be a resilient leader and build resilient teams. Two fellow speakers at the event were truly outstanding and their messages need to be shared as widely as possible. Amanda Oates from Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust spoke about our tendency to jump to blame the ‘who’ of a mistake or error, rather than look at the whole picture – how and why it happened.  She has worked hard to implement a different approach, (click link to watch YouTube video that explains the concept of a ‘Just Culture’), where through structured processes and a compassionate approach, the person, their team and the organisation set out on a journey of learning together, so that the individual is supported and the […]

Do you trust your own wings?

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Online Training, Resilience

We often think that other people are more resilient than us.  We look at people around us, well-known people, role models of resilience throughout history and we assume we would not be able to handle their challenges as well as they did, or still do. Resilience is not a trait that people either have or don’t have. It involves behaviours, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in everyone. Resilience is about being adaptable. It’s about being flexible. It’s about recognizing that we’ve got strengths that perhaps we never knew we had until we have to use them. And like many things in life – the more we practise, the more we learn. You already have EVERYTHING you need within you to be resilient, you just need to be aware of it, work on it a little bit and keep doing that even when you think you aren’t […]

Flying trapeze – for brain health!

Posted Posted in Awakening, Business Coaching, Coaching, Online Training, Resilience

If you regularly feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands, you might be burned out. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It has become so prevalent that the World Health Organization (WHO) added burnout to its International Classification of Diseases, IDC-11,  describing it as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed…” There are many ways to avoid or manage burnout, one proven tactic is to have a hobby that’s purely for leisure.  Nowadays we let hobbies fall out of our lives because we are too busy, but when you’re really engaged in a hobby you love, you lose a sense of time and enter what’s called a flow state. When your brain is in a flow state, neurotransmitters in your brain — endorphins, norepinephrine and dopamine – are activated and these regulate your mood […]

Actively listening to enrich your life

Posted Posted in Awakening, Business Coaching, Clinical Leadership, Coaching, exams, Online Training, Resilience

I often speak about the difference between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’, usually in relation to conversations in a leadership context, but this week I am focusing on how to listen, really listen, (and what to listen to!) as a simple form of mindfulness to help relieve stress. Listening is sometimes called an art and a science.  (In fact, I counted once – coaches are trained to listen in 11 different ways!). It is really important for our mental health to actively listen sometimes because it encourages our brain to work the way it’s supposed to.  Listening tunes our brain to the patterns of our environment faster than any other sense, and paying special attention to sounds, the non-visual parts of our world, feeds everything from our intellectual performance to our motor skills and coordination. Listening to the sounds around us, particularly sounds of nature, soothes an overactive mind and can alleviate […]