In life there is always something you must tackle. It doesn’t have to be open heart surgery, pandemics or life and death moments. If it feels big and uncontrollable to you then that’s what matters and that’s what you need to work on.
It could be endless emails or the inability to stand up for what you believe in.
It could be stuck in a low paying career when you know you deserve more.
It could be struggling with a team member who won’t do what is asked of them.
Many things can make us feel like we have no control.
Honouring who you are, how you think and what you need is the science behind why my coaching gets exceptional results for individuals and teams.
One team reduced absenteeism to zero with the approaches we used from this powerpoint.
Another person who had been petrified of public speaking for 23 years stood on a stage in front of all their peers and by the time they’d finished agreed to 3 more speaking gigs!
Life long fears and anxiety does not need to be your future.
Learn how you think and how it impacts on your results and you can change the results you get.
This powerpoint was created for @Personal Finance Association and was delivered as a 90 minute session. It can be hosted as a full day of coaching and mentoring for you and your team.
It’s just a taster of how powerful your mind can be when you control the uncontrollable.
I’m sat here on the 1st of October and it’s gale force wind and rain. It’s 8 days to my husband’s next surgery. If I was scared about him having thyroid cancer surgery that we had been told his heart was too weak for him to survive (twice!), I can’t tell you how off the chart scared I am about open heart surgery.
They aren’t doing 1 procedure, oh no that would be oh too easy. And we’ve got a lot of “Well if we find this, then we may do that” so there’s the possibility he could have months in hospital waiting for a new heart too.
And thanks to the pandemic I will have to drop him at the door and drive away with no idea if I will see him in 11 days time as planned, months or never again.
I’m so exhausted – Mentally, emotionally and physically, but I know how to keep going and thrive and I’m going to share with you how my extreme situation could give you clues to getting through tough times you face, so that no matter what you get the results you want in life and business.
For 18 months I’ve looked after my husband. I’d do it all again with bells on, but no one supports the carers.
Oh charities have someone you can chat with, but to be honest most of what they suggest I’ve been actively doing for 18 months. I do make time for me. I do turn my phone off. I do get involved in my hobbies, exercise regularly, eat well. Meditate and look after me, but even that doesn’t feel enough as we face this new obstacle.
I tried joining an online community of people in a similar dire situation, but they aren’t people who are actively considering the quality of their thoughts every day and how they impact on their personal and professional lives so I found I was spending my time handing out free coaching and mentoring instead of off loading.
Many of them were suffering guilt and thought being a martyr to their loved ones was a good thing – it’s not. Many of us do this, think that if we apply ourselves more to the situation some how it will make us feel better, it doesn’t you just face burnout too!
My situation has a positive, (I can do this in most situations – I call this reframing and its essential to help you gain a perspective that helps you be resilient, deal with change and find a way forward) and that is that I am doing an amazing job. I sleep well every night. I feel calm and capable most of the time but on some days you just want to scream.
It’s hard to look around at everyone off to work, meeting friends, school etc and think “Why are you acting normally?” When your whole world is upside down it’s weird to see everything going on without you, you find yourself thinking “How can you not see what we are dealing with here?”
My daughter and I have said we would love to go to a field in the middle of nowhere and take a baseball bat, sledgehammer or golf club and be allowed to hit an old car or some old white goods. Just smack those inanimate objects and say all the swear words we can imagine.
It’s about release.
About enabling your mind to keep going when it faces so much.
If you don’t it will shut down. It will suffer.
So I know on these days I have to do more.
The irony is that I’ve had plenty of practice in being emotionally intelligent (not strong – intelligent) and how to be resilient. At the time of writing this article http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/what-does-a-sad-down-coach-look-like-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-you/ I’d discovered my Mother in Law was being abused by my step father in law and my husband was often away on business and the rest of the family live in Europe so it was down to me to get her safe. I was on first name terms with the DCi at the police station and it took over 8 months to get him sectioned due to an aggressive form on dementia that presented with violence against my Mother in Law who also has Parkinsons.
I know how to get results and keep going. I recommend every human on the planet creates a mental health tool kit – something they put together on a good day that will support them on a bad day. This is mine
Usually on a tough day. A day when I’m scared I’m going to lose my husband. I get my walking boots on and walk. I walk at least 2 miles most days. I’m so lucky to live by the sea and I speed march then walk so slow it’s like Andy and me are promenading in the South of France. Taking time to spot every shell and hear every seagull. That’s mindfulness in action.
If you are struggling you don’t need a beach to be able to do this. Just look around you and notice what you see.
A great little strategy that I learnt from Da Vinci was to stare in one place for 10 seconds, what one thing do you notice?
Maybe a line on a radiator?
Or a piece of carpet sticking up higher than the rest?
Now flick your eyes to the other side. What do you notice there? Maybe one small wave in a painting, how the artist let the brush sweep up instead of down.
Tricks like this slow your mind, your breathing and gives your brain some space.
Even when you think you aren’t thinking about something your brain will be. That’s why powering on through is not usually the best way, your brain needs time to find solutions.
But I don’t fancy walking in a hurricane force rain storm, let’s be honest my dog is tiny, she’s likely to turn into a small kite and fly away Mary Poppins style. So what to do?
I share my top strategies because thankfully you don’t need to have someone facing death to need strategies to help you on tough days.
Honour how you feel. So often in our society we are encouraged to look for the good and find the happy. Get the music on, watch something funny,etc,etc. But if you are really up against it, sometimes the best thing you can do is see it all.
It can really hurt. So if it feels too big, only allow yourself to do this for a short amount of time. On the days it feels too big I free write – I’ve a book by my bed and sometimes the best thing to do is just let your mind write what it wants. Don’t filter it. If you have bad, unkind, unpleasant thoughts, still write them down. They don’t own you, they don’t define you but if it passes through your head, honour it. When coaching teams it is often the flippant throw away comments that give us the big eureka moments, so don’t filter, just write.
Scream, swear, dance. Studies have shows “ that dance helps reduce stress, increasing levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin. Also helping to develop new neural connections, especially in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory, and spatial recognition”. (1)
Another study by Keane University showed that ”People who tend to use abusive language usually live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Their frustration is reduced to a great extent by cussing. Also, the mind remains healthy.” (2)
I for one am a big believer in adding the word “Womble” to a swear word. Away from others of course, but it just allows me a moment to express the enormity of the situation in a way that shoves all the bad negative, angry, hurting feelings out of my body. My husband is no less ill, but bringing back calm to my thoughts and mind will help me keep going.
The weird and wonderful is allowed. I searched “What to do when you are as miserable AF” And read about the benefits of blue light. Who knew that blue light can help with your mental state? So I am sat here bathed in blue light. Remember if it works for you and it doesn’t hurt anyone else, then can it really be silly? Often it’s the little things that help us keep going and find a bit of calm.
Just taking the time to write this has helped me. Classical music is on in the background. I’ve limited my caffeine intake because that can make the wrong chemicals take over in the body and increase anxiety and mental health issues and I’ve a dog to stroke too. (The oxytocin chemical that helps us feel bonded is released when we spend quality time with our pets). So you see taking the time to honour how you feel and add the little things that matter to you, really can make a big difference.
After work today I’m heading into my green house to pot up some baby plants. Watching new things grow that I made with my own hands and skill is a great reminder that new shoots are always there. We just have to look for them. And that enables us to keep going.
I am still working around caring for my husband and as the pandemic carves out a new way for so many to work, I spend a lot of time helping teams to appreciate how to work remotely, less hours and be more productive and less stressed. This often leads to less illnesses and work related difficulties that impact on the bottom line. I’m happy to confidentially talk about your teams needs any time – (+44) 7989 935556 or email@example.com
You don’t need to be presenting signs of the 3 O’s to be not working as productively as you could. Performing to an exceptional standard requires you to constantly consider what you are doing, why you are doing it, what it will give to you and what results you want to see as a result.
The pandemic has made many question “Is this the best way?”
One team I worked with were able to reduce absenteeism to 0% thanks to the strategies we put into place. They started to see an improvement after our first 3 hour session. The knock on long term effect was that many team members said they felt far more in control of their role and like their voice was heard.
The management team said that they found their teams came to them with ideas and solutions, rather than problems and concerns. It made performance so much better and didn’t take a lot of work, because we concentrated on the individual and their needs and how that was to work along side the organisational needs and results. When you understand how you think, you can understand how you act and the results you get.
Improve the quality of your thoughts and emotions and you improve your actions and results – it sounds simple but it takes a bit more than that to understand the science of the way you think and it’s implications for you, your team and your business.
Whatever your budget I’ve a way of supporting you and your team to work smarter.
If you are considering the 4 day week, just adjusting what hours your team work is not going to be enough.
This is an opportunity to really consider your mission, your values, your culture, your outcomes and the way you want your team to feel every day that they work for you.
Increasingly in the UK the cost of rehiring is around £11,000 per member of staff so this is not just about happy teams and the implications of this on your organisations success, it’s also about profit.
This is a brief slideshow of the key strategies I utilise with teams around burnout, performance, productivity and the 3 O’s.
Every training session, speaking engagement and coaching session is tailor made to you and your team and what you are working on. This ensures results fast.
The cost to business is around £5 billion with 43% of all sick days in the UK alone due to burnout.
In business it is likely to cause;
Here are 10 strategies to fight overwhelm, overload and overworking for you and your team. They are all taken from my unique style of coaching that can deliver results for teams within 3 hours. I’m happy to talk you through these strategies and share more – get in touch here.
1. Create a communications policy for your company
I’ve created over 40 communication policies this year for teams and each has been unique. They have included things like “No email to be sent after 1pm on a Friday” this stops the “get it off of my desk mentality” and improves communication and team relationships. Or having an agreed green, red, orange system for subject line – green – for your information no need to reply, orange – you may need to be involved, please review and reply as necessary, red – urgent please respond within 4 hours. Agree on a policy and then communicate it, ensuring you reflect and review 6 weeks later to see what is working and what needs to change. You will be surprised how many in your team do not know when it’s okay to walk into your office or to phone you because the conversation has never happened and they are worried they will be in your way, disturb you, ask something stupid or look like they can’t do their job. Fact.
2. Negative to positive.
It’s a lot harder to make improvements when you don’t know what is causing the issue. If you’ve read my book Fight the fear or Taking control of your mind you are not new to the negative spiral strategy. Everything you achieve (or not) is as a result of your feelings, emotions, actions and results. If you think of the negative spiral as the M25 (for my international readers this is a UK ring road around London; notorious for being congested, jammed and slowing down journeys. It can take you 2 hours to get to your destination or 5 hours!) Now imagine that ring road with no exits. The negative spiral is just that, a way of being trapped in a continual loop of negative feelings, emotions, actions and results. When you know the negative you can do something about it.
If you look at this short version you can see that one feeds the other. You don’t need to go in order of feeling, emotion, action and result. It could be in any order. What do you notice?
You can now look to create breaks between each bubble. When I do this with clients we see how bad the negative spiral can get, imagine what a positive version could look like and then come up with lots of ideas on what could break the pattern between each bubble. This is quite a complex strategy to do justice to so get in touch if you’d like more guidance (or re – read Fight the fear and/or taking control of your mind for reminders on how they work.)
3. It is what it is
This is a statement I’ve heard in practically every corporate team coaching session. Every single one. What’s wrong with that you ask?
Well if you believe that it is what it is then you aren’t looking for solutions or ways of making things better for you, your team or your business. It is a victim mentality that holds teams stuck in poor working practices, overloading communication practices and damaging ways to work. Challenge everything at work that this statement is levied at. What other statements are made that take away any opportunity to improve things?
And in every session I’ve heard this statement, by coaching the team through what they believe is possible we’ve helped them make better choices.
This tiny word gained a whole chapter in Fight the fear, because so many of us fear using it. The irony is that people that are good at saying no, rarely have to use the word.
If you understand what inspires your instant yes’s you are able to work out what it does to you and your own list of jobs (remember the negative spiral from above?) and how to create a better way of communicating. When we’ve explored this word and it’s power in teams, I often see that the team are worrying about letting each other down. Causing everyone to over deliver and say yes that creates a culture of working that is unsustainable and damaging to all, so speaking up could literally save others too!
5. Listen to your body
I still hear people proudly exclaim that they got up at 5am, not had lunch and are powering through. After all we know about burnout and stress this is astonishing. If you won’t look after your body because you literally can’t survive without one consider looking after your body because it will work better and perform better if you do.
According to the HR Booth(2), dehydration alone can cause your employees to struggle with concentration, productivity and happiness.
It doesn’t take a genius to suss that if you don’t eat well then your body can’t perform well. This has many implications on burnout.
6. Really listen to your body
We’ve become attached to our computers thanks to the pandemic and as a result we aren’t moving as much as we used to. There is growing evidence to suggest that even a short walk can benefit your mental dexterity.
And just 10 minutes in nature can make you feel more emotionally strong and less stressed. Taking a break actually makes you think better and faster, it can even change your perception of time (see below).
I encourage clients to work on a task for 40 minutes then take a short break. It’s amazingly effective for problem solving and the ability to work for longer. As you step away while you think you aren’t working on the task you need to complete, your subconscious is processing everything you were doing and carries on doing this, so that when you return “magically” you’ve got new ideas to use.
7. Ditch or deal
When it comes to To do lists I often find these are the root of a lot of productivity issues and problems that exasperate burnout. A To do list with more than 5 things on is not likely to be achieved in a day. My clients only ever get a maximum of 5 actions towards any goal. Why? Because too many jobs on there and it becomes overwhelming. They then have back burner ideas – things they can work on after they’ve completed the first 5 tasks, this ensures they stay focused, stay motivated and achieve more.
If you’ve things on your to do list that have been there over a week, make the decision to ditch it or deal with it. Prioritise it. Heard the saying “kiss the frog”? My clients learn that the frog becomes a big warty, slimy toad getting bigger and bigger if they don’t get on with it. Deal or ditch.
One of the reasons we end up feeling overworked, overloaded and overwhelmed is because we don’t have the control we would like to have. It’s one of the reasons I can help a team work less hours and get more done with less stress in 3 hours because it’s about how we personally see the world.
I recently wrote about our perception of time. How time can speed up if we are feeling happy and slow down if we are frightened. If we are in awe it can make time seem a lot slower and when we are “on flow” as us coach’s like to say, time flies. By understanding how you see the world you can appreciate what impacts on that. As a coach my job is to help you understand what you believe to be true, what you feel matters, what experiences have shaped your view of the world and what values are important to you. Your experiences, beliefs and values greatly impact on your ability to stop burn out. Learn to recognise what beliefs, values and experiences are motivating and empower you and which ones are damaging.
Lastly what will you sacrifice? To be more resilient and cope better no matter what you face at work means you have to know what you are prepared to sacrifice. For instance;
If you stay late at work you know you are sacrificing quality down time to return to work fully charged the next day.
If you agree to work through your lunch break you are agreeing to an energy slump mid afternoon and the implications that could have on your performance and productivity.
If you sacrifice checking your email you know you will finish that report.
When I look at people’s to do lists we often discover things that are “should’s.” For instance “I should really look at that report they wrote.” Tasks like this that you don’t deal with, you’ve got to ask “For what reason do I not sacrifice something else to achieve this?”
Ideally think in emotions and feelings as well as the physical implications, because ultimately they drive you forward or force procrastination. So if you are harbouring feelings of “It’s so boring, they waffle on and I don’t understand half of it.” Then what are you going to decide to do?
Which ever you decide it’s a sacrifice for something you do over something you don’t want to do. Adjust your perception of the tasks and your actions and you will work out the right things to sacrifice so that you aren’t overloaded trying to people please and look like you know everything.
Time is a wonderful commodity that we forget we can manipulate, as we’ve already touched upon. With the new ways of working hybrid between office and home it can be all too easy to lump your commute time into your working day. Every team I’ve worked with that were doing this told me it was so they worked less evenings and weekends. This doesn’t work, because they weren’t proactively choosing their use of time.
Take a few minutes to sit down and work out what your ideal week would look like. Have you ever considered that you may not have to do 9 to 5 at all? Often it’s assumed what the management expect from their teams. I’ve heard so many in coaching sessions say “Well, I can hardly work at 6am and then stop for a few hours just to do the school run can I?” Only to hear the boss say “Actually, why can’t you? As long as I can get hold of you at some point in the day, I don’t care what hours you work, as long as you are looking after yourself and doing your job well.”
This requires open and honest conversations, and while most leaders think they do this every week, rarely do I see this happening. A few books on personal development, leadership and coaching does not make you a coach. And often there’s a risk of trying to establish this kind of relationship without having the knowledge on how to fulfil it.
I’ve hundreds of strategies to enable your team to feel resilient and work more productively thus reducing stress and improving performance. Please do feel free to get in touch. We often hear work smarter not harder, but still so many are failing to grasp how.
42% of those surveyed reported experiencing zoom fatigue (1) and yet according to the Office of National Statistics “Of working adults currently homeworking, 85% wanted to use a “hybrid” approach of both home and office working in future” (2)
So even if you’ve had enough of virtual meetings they look set to stay in some format but how can you get the most out of online meetings and training and get everyone involved and benefiting?
Especially if the dog could bark at the post, your house is half way through being decorated or you hate seeing yourself on camera?
It can be a minefield to get right but you can do a lot to ensure everyone is comfortable, communicating and getting what they need from your online meetings.
Here are proven strategies to share with your team so you all get more out of your meetings;
House keeping – just as at an event I would start by advising, “There’s no fire alarm today, the exits are here, break will be at 11am”, etc, etc. Do exactly the same with online meetings.
Ground rules / expected standards I tend to share are;
I pointed out that since they were all hiding for similar reasons what was the point of hiding?
They all turned their cameras on and felt very shy and slightly embarrassed, and then they all laughed!
“It’s not that bad” said one.
“Oo I love that colour you are going for.” Said another.
“How can you work with dishes not done” said another.
This gave us practical information;
This led to open, honest and guilt free communication and ultimately in 3 hours we came up with strategies to help that team work less hours, reclaim the commute time for personal and professional development or down time and a better understanding of each others natural ways of working and responding under stress. We had evidence that this team were sending less email and finishing work on average 2 hours earlier most nights as a result of our time together.
Stop hiding. However…
If you ask everyone to put their camera’s on and you know you’ve got unconfident team members or someone who is rather self-conscious. Discuss it with them ahead of the meeting. You want to build confidence in your time together not erode it. Handled well and you can see your team members and colleagues flourish under these circumstances. I’ve seen it on so many occasions. If you aren’t sure on how to do this without singling them out get in touch and I can share some coaching strategies to assist. Just remember that one person’s natural way of behaving in an online meeting could hide another’s fears and awkwardness.
Breaktimes. In a 3 hour coaching session we will have a 5 to 10 minute break half way through. I advise them at the start that it will be at a natural break in the conversation. (I also ensure that before the break I recap on where we’ve got to and what we will be working on after the break – this ensures that as they make a cup of tea, let the dog out or visit the bathroom their brains are already subconsciously working on the next part of our session. I never assume this is the set up they want. I always ask the person on camera that booked me so that it is agreed with all parties. It is good to know when you are going to get to stretch your legs….
Walking around. If you don’t mind people walking around, standing up or having the meeting on a treadmill (yes I’ve had someone in a coaching session on a treadmill – everyone loved it!) then tell them. Some may have health issues that make sitting down for a long time hard, so make your delegates feel comfortable. No you wouldn’t do this in the office but we are moving into a more innovative productive way of working which means ditching things that didn’t serve you well.
Chat box etiquette. If I’m looking after a large group then I will say that I will keep the chat box open and answer questions, queries and comments as we go. Now as a coach that spends her life writing down every word a client says I’m used to listening (very intently) writing and coaching fluidly. If this is not something you feel comfortable doing, then say so. “Please refrain from commenting in the chat box until 10 minutes before the break when I will take questions and hear your views, thank you”.)
Waving your hand. The little yellow hand being waved on a screen of 30 people can be very distracting. If you are easily distracted or put off or are a nervous presenter/host then ask people to refrain from doing this. I like the hands going up. For me it’s like being at a big event talking to thousands of people. As a speaker I’m used to gauging my audience’s enjoyment, stress, engagement and education by the looks on their faces and their body language. For me hands going up is a good sign that we are on the right track, people have got something to say and want more!
Timing. I make sure that I arrive early so that anyone that struggles with tech has support. Some like to meet me and have a chat, so I’m there early with my coffee and water ready to do that. If the meeting starts at 10am but people are welcome to arrive early communicate that in advance. We miss the watercooler moments of free flowing “Did you see that show last night?” “How’s your son getting on?” chat. Make it naturally exist with clearly defined parameters on when you can arrive. Make sure those that want to arrive at 10am know that’s fine too.
Lights. Camera. Action! Treat it like a TV show. Imagine you are Oprah Winfrey and want to inspire an audience of millions. You may be on a weekly team meeting but wow everyone. You don’t need to hand out puppies or TV’s but make people feel welcomed. I do my best to welcome everyone that arrives. Even if it’s just adding a “Hi, I’m really looking forward to working with you today, if you don’t get a chance to speak either message me on social media or email me. Your messages will remain confidential, and I will do all I can to support you.” In the chat box.
Leading on from the TV show theme. Consider the visuals. If you want to give a confident authoritative air, that’s going to be tricky if you’ve got the camera angle wrong and people are looking up your nose. Get the angle of the camera right – put the laptop on some books or a few tins and a tray. Remember the camera is higher than where you look so it can look like you are not making eye contact. Eye contact matters to us humans so if you have something powerful to say, don’t look at the delegates look into the camera.
Consider the lighting; you don’t want to be in the dark (It can give people subconscious signals not to trust you) and you don’t want to be illuminated like a Christmas tree, natural light is best but if you suffer migraines be careful of the lights you can buy.
What does your background say about you? When I coach your team you will see paintings of boats, a few books and a dining room table. I gave my office to my son and while I’ve a garden office it’s not always great for Wi-Fi signal. I want people to connect with me and know the real me. As their coach being honest helps others do the same, but it is always tidy and you won’t see the drinks cabinet with my gin selection on the other side of the room! What is your environment saying about you?
Have an introduction that feels natural. Practice it. It doesn’t have to be long, just consider how you will make everyone feel comfortable, ready and open to what is happening today?
Have a natural close too. What do you want everyone to take away from today? If it’s the weekly catch up take notes throughout the session that help you recap what has been discussed and what is going to be done by when, by whom. It helps formally close the session and ensure it doesn’t over run and everyone knows what is expected of them.
Notes? I take notes as I go so that I can share additional advice and ideas (Usually articles from my website to assist with additional areas we didn’t discuss in the session – could be it only applies to one person.) I photograph the notes and send them to the host too. That way everyone has accountability to the session and the expected outcomes you want to see.
Check the tech. I’ve been working remotely for 18 months and in that time despite having worked on most platforms that clients use around the globe I’ve still had occasions where I’ve struggled to access the platform. 1 client had altered who was invited and not sent me a new invite so I couldn’t get on the session, another time my laptop needed an update, and I was very relieved I’d turned up early! Never assume tech is going to be your friend. Think of it like that last thing you need to print before you can leave for the day – how does the printer know to play up at that precise minute! Another reason I always arrive early.
Set the ground rules. You may find that the people you virtually meeting have other people behind them, family members, colleagues or even the boss. Let them know it is fine to stay muted. That if they need privacy they can type their replies instead of saying them. What would work for your delegates or team to ensure they feel confident and comfortable to speak up?
Be honest, if you are honest your audience/team/delegates will feel safe to be too. If you are needing to drink a lot of water because you’ve been unwell, no one is going to mind, and transparency makes us feel connected to people. Other people aren’t perfect and by showing that, you aren’t can put people at their ease. Be mindful of cultural differences if you work globally.
Shocking! And lastly, I’ve seen people with towels in their head, cats on their desk and even eating their breakfast and while that doesn’t bother me consider what is says about you and your professionalism? Ask yourself would you turn up to work in this way? While I personally feel that what makes you feel comfortable is best there is also an element of professionalism that is essential. I’m not alone in not wearing a full suit but I won’t be wearing jeans and a sweatshirt either. A YouGov poll said that one in 10 people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic did not put on a pair of trousers during virtual meetings and almost a third wore pyjamas! Now that may be comfy but think about what that may do to your mindset. I personally think it’s good to create a virtual commute to the office even if it’s at the dining room table. It sets you up to perform.
With the office of statistics noting a steep increase in working from home ads and it becoming a jobseekers market, many businesses will benefit from introducing good practices to support remote learning, communication and team building.
With the average staff turnover cost being £11,000 it can also be costly to not ensure you keep your amazing team. These virtual meeting strategies should support you in this and I have a lot more to share on teams, leadership, management, overwhelm and overwork. Get in touch if I can’t write what you need fast enough! +44 (0) 7989 935 556
Business owners often tell me that I make it look easy getting in the press and while that may be true it really doesn’t in my viewpoint take rocket science for you to achieve that too.
Admittedly in the past I’ve worked closely with Voom Media run by Vanessa Moon, but that was purely because I’ve wanted to concentrate on other areas of my work and not as much on PR. As Vanessa used to say I naturally gave her a lot to work with thanks to writing books, world record speaking gigs, awards and speaking up for women in business, mental health and Lupus causes.
Long before that I paid for 1 press release in 2009 and then learnt how to do it for myself. I’m self-taught and you can do it too.
So here are my 16 top tips to getting in the press for free.
(Just remember it will cost you your time, so make your time count, don’t get distracted by social media, get on with it, and get it out there!) And if you think you can dip in and out of this, think again. As with any area of your marketing strategy you need to be consistent with this. My marketing production line (there’s a course on how to create a powerful marketing strategy here) really is the basis of this, but this should get you started;
I’d like to make a promise to you. If you take action on this let me know you get on. If you’ve not joined my mastermind group it’s for business men and women, charities and anyone responsible for the sustainability and growth of people and an organisation. And we are very good at looking after each other, supporting each other, sharing high quality advice and ideas and they get free coaching and mentoring from me on every subject they confidentially post. I’d love to welcome you too.
Okay so we aren’t talking zombie apocalypse or alien invasions although I’ve watched enough movies to guess I’d do pretty well up those disasters, however we are talking hell and I want to share with you how to achieve, overcome and stay positive when it feels like your world is collapsing
While the pandemic has led us all to experience something, we will tell generations to come about and many many books will be written about, not all experiences over the last year have been equal or fair, but if you know anything about life, you will know that life is not fair.
In March last year I was coming to the end of getting my mother-in-law safe from a violent, aggressive, and scary stepfather in law who I had to have sectioned to protect him and her. It was a massive level of relief for the emergency services, social services, her GP and of course us to finally get the result we needed.
On average I was speaking to the emergency services 4 times a week. You may think “How can that be right?” but in DV (Domestic Violence) cases often the authorities know what’s happening but don’t have enough evidence to do anything and my Mum in law rightly or wrongly was not prepared to go into a shelter reasoning “I’ve done nothing wrong why should I be forced out of my home!” She is a strong woman, just not strong against a man a foot taller than her who doesn’t have Parkinson’s to contend with too.
To go from one major life changing moment to another was challenging.
Within months of the pandemic hitting my husband was struggling. To give you the short answer he was signed off work and I’ve been kicking myself for months as I have looked back over the last 15 months and questioned “How did I not see this coming?” But that was just the start…
Hindsight is an evil thing that can drag you down, so I don’t squander any time, emotion or thought there for long. Although I do question why counsellors and GPs are not trained to spot the emotional signs in a person that are not related to mental health and are in fact connected to a serious illness?
When my Stepfather in law was first taken into hospital nurses would ask if he had a temperature. Trying to ram my Mother-in-law onto the floor or taking her walking sticks didn’t seem that interesting to them. What I failed to appreciate is that a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) can present itself with severe changes in a person. Delirium with anger, confusion or agitation can all be signs of a UTI (1).
And with thyroid cancer you can experience memory lapse, sleep issues, anxiety, short temper and severe mood swings. The British Thyroid Foundation writes “Whatever your type of thyroid disorder, it can make you feel more emotional than you felt before and you may find that your mood changes, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably.” (2)
But that was just the start, my husband got a lot worse. Blood clot, stroke incident, partial lung collapse, heart failure and then they found a lump in his thyroid and his lung. The one is his thyroid turned out to be thyroid cancer which they hoped to cure by removing one side but unfortunately the cancer was in the whole thyroid, so he had to go through the huge surgery for a second time just 5 weeks later.
This is a man who in 28 years of being together has had flu once, broke his knuckle sledding with the kids and that’s about it!
During a pandemic I couldn’t be with him in his many hospital stays, and we had been warned that due to his heart working at only 15% to 25% the general anaesthetic could be very dangerous too.
I want to share with you how to be resilient, keep going, stay positive and believe in hope and the future when you face so much. These tools and techniques apply to you personally, to business, to your children, to your goals and your obstacles to success and happiness. So, I hope they inspire you too – they’ve been essential to me and my teenagers at this tough time/
26th November the hospital said “Mrs Holgate your husband is not a candidate for surgery, the situation is rather hopeless, and we don’t know what we can do.” I didn’t accept that answer. When you are faced with authority or clever people who know their stuff, it can be hard to speak up.
Learn how to feel internally confident so that you can speak politely and powerfully. There are lots of articles on my site to help you with this – start with;
Dealing with that voice in your head – does it help or hinder? http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/get-that-voice-in-your-head-on-your-side-fast-the-4-step-exchanger-strategy/
In my book Fight the fear there is a whole chapter on speaking up and how to have difficult conversations.
And if confidence is your issue, then this has been proven to build confidence so you can speak up and get what you need. Click here.
If you want something that is different to what that person is prepared to give or do, then internalise what you want to achieve before you speak or act.
Knowing what to fight is essential. It gives you your why and stops you from giving up when it gets tough. I refused to believe I would lose my husband. A good thing I fought right? Otherwise, we wouldn’t have found the thyroid cancer and I wouldn’t have a plan in place to get him healthy again. All be it a long road is ahead, so know your reasons for fighting.
When you face something big, possibly even insurmountable it is no good approaching it like a week at work or doing the grocery shop. It won’t work. For big goals and obstacles, you need big plans and ideas and big, big thoughts! You will need to then do the following;
Attach emotion to the goal – It’s not difficult when it’s the love of your life, but not all emotions and feelings are so easy to tap into. What emotions do you need to hold on to and what emotions need to be moved through? If you are feeling angry and frustrated about your situation it will be far harder to find practical and supportive ways to move forward.
Don’t expect to be superhuman. You haven’t suddenly gained a second stomach or brain or the energy levels of a superhero. Fighting the good fight means knowing how to look after you.
Make time. It may seem selfish but while I do go and check on my husband every half an hour, I make time for me. All the things that make me feel happy and alive, I make time for. It can seem meaningless and futile but do it anyway. When you suffer a mental health illness you don’t wake up 1 day ill just as you don’t wake up 1 day well again. It’s a bumpy ride with peaks and troughs moving up or down, thus taking the time for you and your loves in life is good for you and what you wish to overcome and achieve. It also creates brain space to process the magnitude of the situation.
It’s impossible to remember it all. We have between 2 and 6 hospital appointments, scans, calls etc a week. I write it all down. It’s a fat file now but it means I don’t have to remember the last 8 months and it goes everywhere with us, so I’m prepared. What would help you feel prepared?
It’s sad to say but ultimately after the first big shock of “Wow, your husband is that ill!” apart from the nice messages and occasional gift you’re on your own. People get on with their own lives and don’t know what to say or do so they stop. That’s not a lack of caring on their part just human nature. So, if you need help ask for it!
I hate to say it but often if you are handling things really well people will be able to shirk out of helping because you can cope, that doesn’t mean you should keep coping. Eventually your mind, body and spirit will flag and if you’d have asked for help you wouldn’t get to that situation, so speak up on what you need.
If you really struggle to ask for help and accept it, start small, let someone cook your dinner. It could be your children cooking a spaghetti bolognaise from a jar sauce, not your normal culinary brilliance, but hey if it’s got 5 veg in, don’t stress it. Ask for that help!
You can feel like you are on constant fight or flight mode, so know what battles to fight. I have a 3-month-old mattress from Dreams that is faulty that they refuse to work with us remotely to resolve despite the fact we are shielded due to my husband’s condition. It’s very uncomfortable, with 2 inch dips in it and clearly faulty. It’s another battle I need to have at some stage, but should that come above my husband’s heart failure, cancer diagnosis and radiotherapy? No of course not, but it’s not always going to be obvious what battle can be left unattended and what is urgent.
Learn to look out for the battles that can be dropped for now. A good question to ask is “If it was 6 months into the future how would I feel about this?” If it’s just mildly annoyed then forget it, if it creates masses of emotions, then deal with it. Just don’t dwell on it, deal or ditch. (Emotionally speaking as well as physically!)
The ability to stay motivated and inspired and keep going no matter what also needs a good dose of stopping. It’s all too easy to become consumed by life and not take the time to stand back and reflect and review – R n R. No matter how busy your day take a minute to take 3 deep breathes, my clients know that I teach the box breathing method – the finest elite soldiers in the world use before a big dangerous mission. After the kit is checked, the details checked and double checked, they stop and breathe. You should do the same.
Stopping is often something we feel guilty about so if guilt is hiding in your psyche, tell it to get out! Guilt stops the down time from being as beneficial as it could be. So, stop and enjoy the stopping.
Setting goals seems a bit impossible when life is so tough. Especially when you’re in a situation where your time is monopolised by hospital appointments and procedures. I’ve not had a single week since December without hospital appointments, phone calls and emails to deal with. Sometimes 6 appointments in one week! It’s a full-time job looking after someone seriously ill. So, it would be mad to try and stick to the goals I had planned, wouldn’t it?
That depends on you. Don’t define how you keep going by how someone else has done it. For me I’ve still got a few core goals that I’m working towards and I’ve adjusted my goals for my growth personally and professionally to honour the situation I find myself in. I’ve been researching and learning Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to compliment my knowledge of CBT and CAT. It is brilliant for understanding your mind in high pressure situations where life feels too big and too hard.
I’ve a robust mental health tool kit (See mine here) http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/building-a-mental-health-tool-kit/ and I’ve helped my daughter develop one too that will honour her needs. Take some time to understand what you want to achieve and to understand if it’s possible to work towards at this time. Even if it is not possible to give 100% to, it is possible to make some time that is dedicated to just that goal. Even if it is just 5 minutes a day, that’s still 29.5 hours in one year you could dedicate to your goal, so don’t give up altogether on the things in life that mattered to you before this situation began. It will remind you of what is possible and that you still exist amongst all you face.
If I said we were off to the beach in 2 hours’ time, how would you feel? Panicked or excited? Ready to drop everything or worried something important will get dropped. Seriously take a moment to answer this question. I’ve posed it to thousands of people, and it often showcases the kind of person you really are. For some being adaptable and flexible is easy, for others it can really throw them. Learn what to drop and sacrifice and how this process will aid you.
Learn how to be more resilient to change. People that tell me it is what it is. Often learn a lot about themselves in the coaching process as they explore that “It is what it is” keeps them stuck and stops the opportunity for something better to be discovered. Just think, if I’d believed “It is what it is” My husband would have died of Thyroid cancer and heart failure. You don’t have to be facing a life and death situation to benefit from remembering;
Know when to fight, know what to fight, how to fight, when to stop fighting, how to ask for help, know what you want and how to be flexible and open to change.
These are core practices to adopt so that you can keep going no matter what and remember that underpinning your success is that confidence level. That belief in yourself that you will find a way, because trust me, no matter how big and scary life feels right now, you can find a way forward. Good luck and keep in touch.
I’m fully booked now for the next 3 months but you can still work with me through my books and courses and mastermind group, all accessible on this site.
In my latest article for Lifehack I look at how I see emotional baggage impact on people in their personal and professional lives.
“Have you ever had that feeling you’re trapped in circumstances out of your control? Like you’re repeating the past? Do you find yourself in conversations, relationships, and jobs that aren’t what you hoped, thinking, “hang on, haven’t I been here before?” If you have, then you could be suffering from some emotional baggage that won’t let go of its grip on you and your future.
Here are seven types of emotional baggage and what you can do to get rid of them so that they never hold you back again.
The scared child tells you absolutes, like “I can’t do this”. They base every opportunity or obstacle on the theory that they’ve already failed because evidence from the past proves this, and they don’t think to override this.
A scared child is not always scared, nor does this emotional baggage showcase itself so obviously. A lot of the time, the scared child hides behind confidence and actions that mask the real issue(s). The challenge is that the scared child holds on to outdated beliefs about what is possible.
If you realize that you have a frightened version of yourself hanging out inside, think back to a time you felt truly loved. It didn’t matter what happened just that you remember how that person was there for you.
Imagine that you are four years old and really want to learn to ride a bike. Some of us are lucky enough to jump on, wobble a little, and fly off, never to look back at riding a bike as an obstacle. On the other hand, others will wobble and fall, and wobble and fall.
How does the wobbler get up and keep going? With love, the right people, and the right words.
As that voice says “you can’t do this,” along comes someone that loves you who says “you’ve got this.” Even if you haven’t, they give you the self-belief to say “come on, let’s try again.” Look for those that nurture, love, and support you.
“You will never amount to anything” or “Why won’t you apply yourself” is what they tell you. (See below for the opposite that can be just as disastrous for you to hang on to.)
Having negative people around that berate you can impact you for a long time. They may have meant well. They may have hoped their harsh powerful words would inspire you, not appreciating how they cut you down and made you feel like a failure. But that doesn’t give those words power—youare doing that.
What do you believe to be true about your capabilities that need to be challenged? I’ve heard clients tell me that they’re rubbish at maths or aren’t creative or have a left dominant brain and thus, it’s impossible for them to be good at certain tasks.
People still love personality tests that help them prove why they are good at things or bad at others, even though it’s been proven to be scientifically inaccurate. People will still hold on to pseudoscience unless it supports what they want to believe.
You may have been a messy teenager or a lazy intern, but that doesn’t define who you are in the future. You get to do that.
The opposite end of this scale is the people from your past who told you that you can do anything. How many have sat through a shocking rendition of a piece of music only to see the parent proudly waving and cheering with a phone in hand saying, “in 20 years, my little Sam will be the best musician in the world!”?
If you aren’t getting the results you want in life, then it could be that you’re holding on to baggage that says you rock at something when clearly, you need a reframe on that thought to be able to upskill and retrain. It takes guts to look at what you believe and ask, “Is this really true?”
Many have suffered at the hands of bullies at school and in their careers, and it can be hard to not let that emotional baggage stick around. With the long-gone bully, it’s less about what they say to you and more about what you wished you’d said to them.
Unfortunately, the number of people being cyberbullied rose by 37% between 2007 and 2019, and with growing anxiety, depression, and mental health issues on the rise around the world, the bully is not something that we get to easily outgrow.
If you have baggage on the things you wish you’d said, it may not be in your distant past. It could be something trite or unkind that someone said only recently that you wish you had spoken up about.
I often see this in workplace coaching. People hold on to old, outdated frustration where someone has let them down and they wished they told them what they really think. The important point is that past bullies can impact your future relationships and results, especially if you assume that the person before you today is speaking to you in the same way, with the same meaning, and wanting the same outcome as the bully from five, then, or 20 years ago.
Before you say anything, check that you’re not adding your own tonality or meaning to words, conversations, emails, or situations. I call these hot buttons. Words that hold meaning to you but may mean nothing special to the person you are talking to. Sometimes, it can be enough to write down your feelings and what you wanted to say, then burn it or delete it (so it doesn’t get accidentally sent on a bad day!).
Is this person really bullying you? Or are you adding an outdated interpretation to the conversation?
It’s scary having difficult conversations, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If you struggle, you can try to learn how to have difficult conversations and get the results you want. Remember that getting the outcome you need doesn’t mean the other party will not get an outcome they need too.
There are no limits to what the inner hater can do to you. They’ve been in your mind, actions, and results for so long that they probably feel like a part of you. If you find you judge yourself harshly compared to everyone else, look for the hater. They will be able to list every occasion that you made a mistake, didn’t act quick enough, let someone down, or failed.
Every human fails, makes mistakes, gets it wrongs and lets, someone down. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t need to define your future. If you find that you are poor at hearing compliments or accepting you are doing brilliantly, test whether your inner hater is silenced.
The quickest way to do this is to take the “Why I’m Awesome” strategy from the book, Taking Control of Your Mind: Life Hacks to Resilience, Confidence, and Success. Then, write a large list (two sides) on why you are awesome. It may seem indulgent and pointless, however, we often find that emotional baggage is held on to when the facts are dismissed for the accepted beliefs.
Anger can be a piece of emotional baggage that is hard to get rid of. Anger can come from:
Look for the anger in your life. It may not present as anger. You may not go red and look like steam is pouring out of your nose to have past anger damaging you. Holding on to hate is hard work and draining.
Holding on to this anger was hard work. They would procrastinate on emails, put off phone calls, and delay paying bills until guilt reared its ugly head. Helping them see the damage it was doing helped them change.
Anger can stop you from dealing with your past and stop you from moving forward into a more positive state. Allowing the past to invade our daily lives can have damaging consequences. This quick action can be enough to jolt you into a more positive way of thinking, reacting, and acting.
Everyone has been ditched. If you feel like you aren’t good enough or can’t get things in life, are you holding on to beliefs about who people think you are? What people think you are like? That feeling that you aren’t good enough and unloved can be detrimental to every part of your life, even preventing you from finding love.
I coached someone on finding a partner, which they achieved in six months. They discovered that they were holding on to outdated ideas on what was possible and what people would think of them.
Of all the fears I see impact happiness and success, the fear of what people will think of us can hang out in so many fears. You can stop this from happening by defining how you see the world.
Remember that what goes on in your head is personal to you. No one can own it or be involved in it without your permission. Start here and then, look around you to discover how this manifests in your life.
For my client, we discovered that they didn’t even have a room in the closet for another person’s coat and shoes, let alone their belongings. Becoming aware of the way they were living helped them adjust to being open to a new and better way of moving forward that would remove the feeling of being unloved.
The unlucky will be able to tell you how they’ve never achieved a promotion, never won a competition, or be chosen first. Okay, so during basketball practice in your teens, you may have been chosen last, but that doesn’t mean you are going to keep that level of luck for the rest of your life.
With that in mind, holding on to outdated beliefs on your luck makes you the victim of your life. And if you are the victim, there’s nothing you can do about it.
This doesn’t just work on luck. If you work in the public sector or fit any popular media story (having a long-term illness, stressed, overworked, parent, teen, etc.), then, you are likely to be bombarded about how poorly paid you are and how the government, public, and media don’t appreciate you.
When working with these demographics, I often find that this is detrimental baggage that stops people from finding better ways of working so that they reduce stress and enjoy work more, often working fewer hours.
So, if you want to hold onto that baggage, what will you be accepting? As a parent or teen, you can feel like you are constantly being put upon—if you were to flip that, could you see that you are also trusted and relied upon? That you are loved and valued?
For any of these, look for the feelings you get as a result—do you feel guilty? Frustrated? Regretful? Unappreciated?
Learn more about what’s impacting you and start asking yourself:
Change needs something positive to work on, and that’s a lot easier to achieve when you know what your emotional baggage is doing to you. As Wilhelm Reich famously said, “The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it.” Let me know how you get rid of your emotional baggage and the impact it has.
To read the full article head to Lifehack here. Do let me know what I can share ideas on for you and your success. Email, message me on social media or send a pigeon.
This clients story takes us from late 2019 to mid 2020. We are still working together, however these are the results they’ve achieved so far;
When I met Sam* through networking I was impressed with the business owner before me. They quickly got to know that with me they can say anything and admitted that going it alone after a highly successful career working for someone else was very scary and they had so many questions;
We have worked together 4 times in 11 months. And this is how awesome they and their business are;
And as I remind them, I share with you “The day you realise how amazing you, the world had better stand back, because you can have anything you want!”
I’m happy to have a chat anytime. Whether you work for a large team or are all on your own. I’ve a proven record of accomplishment helping people perform exceptionally well and enjoy the life they lead. Get in touch to confidentially discuss your needs anytime.
*Name changed because my client is awesome, and I will be there moving forward, and we don’t want to add any pressure to their awesomeness.
Okay, it’s been on my mind for some time; Hump Day.
I hate it. No, I don’t hate Wednesday’s I hate the term hump day.
Think about it. If you are lucky enough to live on this planet for 85 years you are choosing to put in your head a hatred of 4420 days of your life. That works out as 12.1 years you are going to tolerate and complain about!
So, if you hate the week and struggle to make the weekend, do something about it.
If you hate Wednesdays rename them. Here’s some suggestions, strategies and ideas for you;
Where you dump the bad thoughts in your head and concentrate on what you do want instead.
Where you dump the venomous relationships with other people (and yourself) and find strategies to handle tough conversations, controlling people and passive aggressiveness (there’s lots of advice, articles, courses an books on this on my website – help yourself).
Where you bump the things you hate to another day – imagine a day where you prioritise all the things that make you happy and productive?
Where you appreciate you’ve been bumping stuff for so long is it really even important? If you really keep bumping it maybe it’s time to dump it? I teach people to dump or deal. I.e., Deal with that thing that’s sat on your to do list for 4 months or dump it for good. Your need to do that job was possibly created by external forces or ambitions. What do you think on the inside about that thing?
Where you focus on how to be motivated, positive and have a mindset that says, “No matter what, I will thrive and achieve great things.” I always say “Know on a good day how to handle a bad day. Check out my mental health tool kit to help you with this too. What people inspire you? Start your day hanging out with them, even if its just on social media. What pumps you up? Does it really need doing? Will it really help you and your success and happiness?
Okay not every month, but maybe have one day a month where you can freely moan. My Dad jests that if we take moaning away from him, he won’t have anything left. The irony being he is someone that always finds the positive and concentrates on inspiring and nurturing rather than what he can’t control you.
I’ve always been tempted to set up a Grump page on Facebook that is confidential. Where you can hop in once in a while, rant, get it off your chest and move on.
Sometimes in life it is tough, and it does feel all consuming. Don’t put up with it. Being grumpy is considered a crime. But if you give yourself permission to grump, swear, stew, and dump that word again) it on paper or to a kind friend. You will get back to a positive empowering mindset faster. (this won’t work for all people – only do the ideas that resonate with you.)
Where you do the things that get you buzzing. I love a dance every morning. While I brush my teeth, make my bed, brush my hair. I’ve playlists that will make me bouncy, concentrate, calm, grateful, laugh. Exercise has been proven to do so much good to our minds, so how will you jump and get active?
Where you plump up what you think about yourself.
You aren’t going to walk down the street greeting everyone with “Good morning, did you know I’m amazing?”Mandie Holgate, Author, Speaker, Coach
However most of us need a reminder that we are awesome and how it presents itself in our life. I get many clients to write a 2-page document on why they are awesome. (Taken from my book Taking Control Of Your Mind) It builds confidence, it reminds you of all the skills, attributes, and successes you’ve had, and you have every right to do it all again.
So, let’s take ownership of those 4420 days and claim them for us. What do you want Wednesday’s to be from now on?
What do you need in your life and how are you going to make Wednesday’s your reminder to go for it and get what you want and deserve in life?
I would just say there is always Rump day too – I could be talking steak which in our house is a treat night, romantic night with my wonderful hubby or it could be something else?
The quality of your thoughts creates your actions, and results in life. So own Wednesday’s you’ve got 12 years of them (at least!)