Conflict – did you bring your compass?

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

Is there anything more heart-sinking or gut-wrenching than being in a conflict situation or conversation?  Most of us would do anything to avoid it.  But it’s unavoidable at times.  That’s life.  People don’t always agree with us or what we have done. Sometimes we can sense an impending conflict before anyone has spoken a word because we know we have to say something that won’t be appreciated. Sometimes we ‘know’ the response we will get.  Occasionally our worst fears come true.  Other times we are pleasantly surprised when the other person reacts in a more reasonable manner than we expected. In my recent survey of subscribers to my weekly Resilience Guide newsletter, Conflict Management was the 3rd most requested topic.  It was tied with other topics, but in 3rd place nonetheless. When I am coaching someone who dreads it or avoids it (sometimes at greater cost to themselves than if […]

The joy of travel, while staying safe

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

The season is turning, for sure.  There has been a crispness in the air for the last few days.  Some brown leaves fell in front of me this week.  The swallows are preparing for their long journey ahead, stretching their muscles, swooping up and down and practising their chirping communications.  They will be gone in a few days. For many people the summer of 2020 has been difficult to bear because travel is more or less forbidden.  If you are feeling sad about this, the reason is that leisure travel is a pleasurable activity that releases dopamine in our brains – a feel-good hormone. However, there are ways of triggering a little wave of dopamine related to travel, and you don’t have to go far to do it. Look up at the sky. Look so high that your peripheral vision can no longer see your surroundings. Now focus on the […]

When the wall seems too high

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

“Just when you think you’re on a roll…” “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…” “The Universe had different ideas…” These are all expressions that demonstrate how frequently we face challenges and obstacles in life. Sometimes the obstacles we face seem insurmountable. The wall seems too high. We can’t see over it or through it and it’s causing a hard stop in our journey. Here are a few things to consider about those walls: Two stacked bricks will seem like a wall when we are tired. ‘What we pay attention to expands’ – John Maxwell. Staring at the wall makes it bigger than it is. All the time we are staring at the wall, we are missing what’s going on elsewhere. Every wall ends. The Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, the wall on the Mexican-US border; every one of them has end points and ‘loopholes’ in […]

The Fog of Familiarity

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

I saw this picture and thought, ‘What a beautiful place to live!’. Then I wondered if the people who live there appreciate how pretty it is. Would they look at where I live and wistfully think the same thing?! Familiarity sometimes becomes a fog that prevents us from seeing what’s right in front of us.  When is the last time you looked at your home and surroundings with fresh eyes?  Can you think back to a time, years ago, when you day-dreamed about what your future home would look like, and wondered how on earth to make it a reality? Suddenly, having to clean and maintain it doesn’t seem such a chore any more, does it? This is a simple but powerful switch in mindset that helps us to feel more gratitude, more in control, more resilient and ultimately much happier. It even makes the ironing easier for me!  I […]

Feed the Hope – Starve the Fear

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

John C Maxwell, internationally renowned thought leader and author, says that what you pay attention to, expands. This week as we all very tentatively and gradually emerge from the ‘lockdown life’, what do you want to expand in your future? Hope, opportunity, a safe future, health, reconnection with others? If you focus on the negatives, the losses and challenges – they will expand in your life.  Do you want that? How about instead focusing on what you want to feature more in your future life.  Then keep turning towards that. How? Put a picture of it somewhere you spend a lot of time. Put a reminder of it on your phone in an alarm or a screensaver or wallpaper. Write it down, with a pen and paper. Say it out loud, first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  ‘I will….‘ Promise it to yourself. ‘I promise…’ When we […]

Are you ‘drink-driving’ through life?

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

Drink driving has become so socially unacceptable now that I’ll bet you bristled when you saw the headline here. The vast majority of us don’t do it.  Most people judge those who do – silently or vocally, culturally and criminally. Yet, 1 in 3 of us operate our lives (and sometimes our cars) under the same conditions as a drunk driver, because that’s the number of people it’s estimated are sleep deprived. Scientific research tells us that after being awake for 18 hours or more, an individual’s performance equals that of someone with a blood-alcohol level of 0.1% (the benchmark for drunk driving in many countries).  Some studies say that losing 2 hours of sleep is equivalent to having 3 beers.  The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates fatigue-related crashes that result in injury or death cost $109 billion annually, not including property damage.  Sleep deprivation was a factor in […]

When cocooning hides procrastination

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

‘If this lockdown was completely lifted tomorrow, what would you be sorry you hadn’t done?’ A common question, even a challenge. I delight in hearing how others are forgiving themselves more now for stopping to smell the roses, noticing the Earth breathing, getting out in the fresh air more than usual.  Notwithstanding the real heartbreak of missing contact with family members outside our own home, it’s a nice way to live. Personally, I’m going to focus on what I did do: walked more, appreciated every day having both children home from college and school, the occasional lie-ins because there’s no travel, spending less.  I have breathed more than usual. But what about when, if we’re really honest with ourselves, this becomes an excuse not to do something that could be really impactful for our work, business or future life?  Comfort zones are perfectly named – it’s soooo comfortable for most […]

The Upper Hand

Posted Posted in Awakening, Coaching, Resilience

It may feel as is this virus has changed our lives utterly and in many ways it has.  Feeling that we have no control flags our stress response and we humans don’t like it! Each generation has endured major and catastrophic events that have changed lives and punctuated the decades.  Each one is ‘new’ and shocking at the time – airplane hijackings in the 1980s were new; flying passenger airplanes into buildings in 2001 was new; Foot and Mouth disease was new (ish).  H1N1, SARS and the spread of Ebola in recent years were new – or seemed new because we were experiencing them for the first time, maybe even first-hand.  Each of those events changed the way we behaved, operated and travelled.  Each challenged us to re-evaluate our mindset and values. The extent, speed and reach of this pandemic is new to our generation.  We’re astonished that something can take […]

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 […]