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How to be resilient, agile, and ready for anything when all hell breaks lose

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/

Know when to fight

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.

Know how to fight

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?

Don’t fight alone.

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!

Know what to fight – choose your battles wisely.

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!)

Know when to stop – R n R.

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.

Know what you want.

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.

And lastly flexibility and agility.

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.

(1) (https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/urinary-tract-infections-utis-dementia

(2) https://www.btf-thyroid.org/psychological-symptoms-and-thyroid-disorders

  • June 2, 2021

Emotional Baggage – what’s it doing to your performance, resilience and happiness?

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.

1. The Scared Child

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.

2. The Overbearing Parent/Teacher

“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.[1]

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?”

3. The Long-Gone Bully

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.[3]

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.

4. The Inner Hater

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.

5. The Angry Monster

Anger can be a piece of emotional baggage that is hard to get rid of. Anger can come from:

  • what people did
  • what you did
  • what you didn’t do
  • what they didn’t do
  • what the world looks like
  • even for your inability to queue without getting so mad that it ruins your day

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.[4]

6. The Unloved

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.

7. The Unlucky

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?

Final Thoughts

Learn more about what’s impacting you and start asking yourself:

  • What do I want to feel from now on?
  • What changes do I want to see in my life, thoughts, and happiness?

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.

  • May 12, 2021

A coaching clients story…

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;

  • Could I make enough money to pay the mortgage?
  • Would I be working endless hours like I used to?
  • Would I be able to learn how to get clients – I’m rubbish at sales” They said.
  • I feel like an imposter doing this, I know my industry, but I really don’t know if I can go out there and sell myself?
  • Would it be a costly waste of time and money and see me returning to the job I loathed?

We have worked together 4 times in 11 months. And this is how awesome they and their business are;

  1. They originally wanted to make enough to pay the mortgage. They have made a profit that is 150% times what they aimed for. So, they are now earning 50% more than they were when employed!
  2. They are building confidence to talk to people about business and have a steady stream of enquiries. These are not just the standard priced customers; they are also attracting higher fee-paying customers.
  3. They have new enquiries coming in all the time. Their marketing is working!
  4. They are learning to ask for the contract and value their worth, this means that they are not working for free and know how to say no politely. They still can risk over delivering but are learning the damage this can have to profit margins, sleep, a life outside of business and the ability to grow and sustain that growth.

Moving forward;

  1. We are going to continue to build their confidence, so that if/when it dips as we include bigger scarier goals, they know they’ve always got that parachute of support to slow them down and stop feeling the fear and reverting to low prices and over delivering that leaves them exhausted. Learning how to remain positive so that they get the results they want for themselves and their business.
  2. We are looking at ways to automate more of the business, so they free up more days each month to engage with more high fee customers, gain their contracts and double their profit (again.)
  3. By the end of their second year of trading we are working on a really scary goal, so we are going to ensure we break it down into 6-week planners with minimal actions (usually 2 a week) so that they don’t’ become overwhelmed.
  4. They have in place a support system so when it does feel tough (and let’s be honest everyone at work has tough times) they know who they can rely on. They know that includes their coach who thinks they are amazing and more than capable of achieving any size goal they set.

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.

  • March 17, 2021

Hump, Dump, Bump or Pump Day?

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.

Why?

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;

Dump Day

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).

Bump day

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?

Pump day

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?

Grump day

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.)

Jump day

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?

And lastly plump Day

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!)

  • March 17, 2021

Your Resilience & the costliest disaster in history – key lessons for us all

10 years ago I like millions of others watched as waves often over 25 metres high smashed into Japan.

I cried as whole towns were destroyed.

Families displaced and thousand died or were missing somewhere under the mud, detritus and destruction.

Watching the ships washed into towns was something that has stuck with me for 10 years. Seeing dazed journalists who’ve covered the worse things on the planet, asking “How do they recover from this?” and genuinely wondering if it could be possible as they stood on what looked like an abandoned half finished parking lot with rods of iron twisted out of the ground and not much else, where days before had been homes, businesses, schools and life.

The earthquake that caused the tsunami was a magnitude 9 the most powerful in Japan since 1900. The quake shifted the earth on it’s axis and was the most costliest disaster in the world to date at $360 billion.

But worse than all nearly 20,000 people died, most were drown.

Why would I share such devasting facts?

Because due my secret love of NHK World – it’s a news station hidden amongst the other stations from around the world. (If you want an unbiased idea of what’s going on in your world, watch news stations that are based on every continent to really understand our planet and it’s people and how you fit into this world.)

It’s here I watched week after week as they told the stories of the towns and cities that were hit the worse. Every show made me feel good. How can a tragedy of this magnitude do that?

Because of the people and their stories.

Ichiyo Kanno

The people of Japan and the people that moved to the area teach us essential lesson on what it takes to be resilient in life. To overcome any adversity and achieve no matter what.

Here I want to share just a few stories to share how these stories could make you more resilient – and as I like to call it – bouncability.

The fisherman

A lot of the stories are shared with American Hollywood film star Ken Watanabe. In this episode he met an elderly fisherman (I didn’t catch his name – my apologies). When Ken first met him, he was living in a tiny cargo container because everything was gone. Ken asked why do you not leave?

And the man said “This is my home.” In the show he went back last year and we got to meet the same fisherman. Yes he looked older (who doesn’t after 10 years) but he looked like a new man. There in his waterproofs, knife in hand, turning fish on net beds to dry in the air, he shone with happiness.

He talked with candour about how hard it had been but about how it had never entered his mind not to return to fishing where he had always fished. Now people chose to buy from him instead of big shops because they knew fishing bought the man happiness.

What a wonderful story about faith and belief in what you should do.

Lessons to apply to your life

When you feel like you are up against it, respect your values. Your values may be similar to mine but they will be unique to you in some way. In my first book Fight the fear there is a detailed exercise that will take you about 1 hour to do it properly.

At the end of this exercise you will know what your core values are. By understanding these, whatever happens in life, you will keep going because what drives you is being honoured.

Fight the fear

Secondly this fisherman had faith. At the time of wanting to return how could he have possibly have known how many others would be so brave or confident to return and rebuild their devastated town?

He held out belief in those around him. He assumed that there would be market for what he sold  (Okay, that’s risky by any business coach’s standards! However I admire his absolute commitment and belief in his customers.) Your take aways here are;

  • Who can you rely on?
  • Who do you know will be there for you?
  • How do you know this?
  • What does this information do for you?
  • How can it make you more resilient?

Next meet the oyster fisherman’s wife, Ichiyo Kanno.

When the tsunami hit it destroyed the lower floor of her house (Ichiyo is not related to the first fisherman). The same day she set up a shelter for people to come and stay who had lost everything.

It quickly became a centre to go to for food, love and support, barrier free and open to all.

Ichiyo’s tragedy grew exponentially!

As if Ichiyo hadn’t suffered enough, it broke my heart to see her talk about how her husband, daughter and son in law died a few years later when their fishing boat capsized a few years later. Just as they were rebuilding their life and could fish again, it was suddenly all gone all over again!

How do you come back from that?
Yet when she meets Ken, she is all smiles and happiness to see him. I know many who put a “brave face on it” however that doesn’t seem to be Ichiyo’s way.

Her way is far braver.  

Love, as one writer who meets her puts it a genuine desire to live and be happy; a love of life. (1)

I felt like her love and joy for life were coming out of the screen at me. Now she has a guest house and feeds people from around the world. If I ever get to Japan, I want to go here!

How is this useful to you?

Any actions you take that are rooted in negative feelings will be difficult. While negative emotions are good to levy against to change what you do and get better results. Unless you can find the positive in your desires, what you need to overcome or adversity that you face, then it will be far harder to achieve. Always ask yourself if your fundamental desire for this is rooted in love?

Everything Ichiyo does is rooted in love and it means that despite the very real loss that she must still feel every day, she feels loved, is loved and is given love.

Life is easier with love. And I know this sounds 60’s hippy theory but seriously in business, in teams, in colleges, in hospitals, anywhere in your world you need to achieve more;

  • To communicate with power.
  • To perform exceptionally.
  • To get the results you need for yourself, a team and/or an organisation,

Root the need, the goal, the ethos and vision in love. You will achieve more as a result – and it is likely to feel easier too.

Love in action in business;

I remember working with a team who had a member of staff that, well how do we say, basically, no one liked. They could offend everyone. They could argue about what colour the sun was. There was a lot of animosity to this person and it affected the team, their co – workers and the company as a whole.

Coaching is non judgemental with me. So it takes away guilt and blame. It meant for the first time everyone was actually listening to what this person felt. Not their poor actions or communication, but what they felt. And they realised that this person constantly felt threatened, not good enough and lacked confidence.

The lack of confidence really shocked everyone. But as they talked with me as their facilitator and coach, they were able to see this person in a whole new way. They saw how they were suffering and could see how their actions weren’t being done to offend or annoy people but because they held onto many negative ideas that weren’t serving them well.

Ichiyo teaches us to be mindful to what we hold on to. Can you say you do this?

  • If you consider people from a place of love, what might they be feeling?
  • What may be their reasons for acting as they do?

(It’s not always the case that things can improve, alas, some people just aren’t a good fit. However even then if you come from a place of love, they can move forward to get the goal that Ichiyo strives for; a genuine desire to live and be happy; a love of life.

And lastly meet 28 year old Barber, Itaru Kitayama

For Itaru, the tsunami hit 10 days after he grauated from highschool. Able to escape to university in Tokyo, he could live anyway he wished.

He chose to return. Around his own business as a barber in the town devastated by the tsunami he is a karate coach at his old  high school, coming 2nd in a national competition he really is free to live life anywhere in any way he wishes, and he chooses here.

He talked to Ken in the TV show about how he feels karate helps him and the students.  He said that through karate he wants to contribute to the area and give students confidence and possibilities. I adore his quote;

“I feel its not so much fun if you can see the finish line.”

Itaru Kitayama

Itaru beautifully sums up essential lessons for resilience and durability to ensure you get what you want to go.

1. A realisation that you are free to do something else – you get to choose – by believing you don’t, you take away your power. Becoming the victim will not help you, it will keep you stuck because you believe nothing can be done. Whether coaching a team or an individual, I’ve never seen this to be the case, there is always something you can do.

2. Contributing to others helps you. A study by the London School of economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measure of happiness and found the more people volunteered the happier they were. And just google the research and benefits of happiness on mindset, actions, success and even your likeliness to earn the amount you want and you will see that helping others is very very good for you.

Itaru does this in another way by returning to an area that many have been deserted. Helping to rebuild a vibrant society and communities that will thrive. Giving motivation and belief to others too.

3. Lastly by not needing to know the ultimate finish line Itaru can enjoy the journey. Sometimes I see incredibly successful people (often millionaires) who are still not happy, feeling like something is missing. This is often because they have become accustomed to an outdated belief that “I will be happy when…” or “It will be good when…” not actually noticing they’ve achieved everything they aimed to with bells on!

Above all else these stories and the many others I’ve watched about that awful day one decade ago give us key skills, attributes, beliefs, values and attitudes we need to bring to our own lives. If you want to feel like you can do anything and overcome anything, bring love, happiness and hope into your life.

Because as I like to say nothing stays the same.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please do 3 things;

1. Share on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

2. A little Paypal love of this writer goes a long way too – it also gives me a dollop of love. And we all need that!

3. Let me know how my words impact on you and your life.

(1) https://visit-kesennuma.com/highlights/highlight-en-606/

Statistics on the tsunami from https://www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/2011-japan-earthquake-and-t sunami-facts

  • March 10, 2021

Burnt out – Overwhelmed, Overloaded and Overworked.

My client glared at me and I was not sure if they were going to hit me or sob on my shoulder. Their face was contorted with stress and their words were so fast paced I’m not sure even they knew what they were saying. Welcome to the overwhelmed, overloaded, overworked.

The first thing they said to me was “I feel so overwhelmed I don’t think I can cope any more. I just want to get in my car and drive away, I don’t care where to, just away from here.”

This person has a career, children, a partner, a dog and a rabbit – all of which would suffer if they left.

If you have ever felt like you are about to meltdown. Scream something terribly rude in a bank queue or in the middle of the street or have poured a cup of tea in your handbag by mistake (yes, one client did that!) then you are probably facing extreme stress, like you need a holiday and are at high risk of burn out.

What can you do to pull back from the brink?

  • To restore the balance?
  • To not feel like you need a holiday every other week?
  • To get everything done and not stress about work all of the time?
  • And actually start loving the life you already have?
  1. Start saying No.

It’s such a small word, and yet one so many of us fear using. Why is this? Think about a time where you said yes and regretted it. What was happening? It’s highly likely that;

  • You always say yes.
  • It’s just something you do.
  • You don’t want to let someone down.
  • You don’t want people to think you don’t care.
  • You would hate people to think you can’t do it and aren’t capable.
  • You are worried people think you aren’t coping.

Guess what? You aren’t coping!

We fear saying no to people because we fear what other people are thinking and if that’s not it, we are fearing what we will start thinking of ourselves! Some of the things my coaching clients say are things like;

  • If I say no in my head I feel like I’m failing.
  • If I say no to someone I feel like they are judging me and then I judge myself in the same ways.

And the results of this are it impacts on how we feel about the task, the person and ourselves and that them impacts on our own emtions, feelings and actions and that in turn impacts on our results. I often get clients to use this sentence to move forward “If I keep saying yes then what am I agreeing to that will impact on me and my own success?”

It’s usually enough to bring their mind back to the focused accountable coaching and they learn to use that powerful little word. If you need more support, check out my book Fight the fear – there is a whole chapter on learning how to say the word No – often without ever having to use that word.

What were you thinking!

We face burnout when we have these completely skewed views of the world we live in, its people, and what is expected of us.

We make assumptions that add unnecessary pressure to our lives and we over perform in the hope it will some how magically get us what we want. (It won’t!) Recently I was working with a team of passionate dedicated leaders who obviously cared deeply about each other, the company they worked for and their teams and yet they were adding an impossibly long list of tasks to their working week that just didn’t need to happen.

By looking at what they were thinking they realised (as above) that they were over thinking what other people would think about them. A great little idea that they decided on was the thumbs up emoji. On Facebook you have the option to reply with this emoji and the group decided that that meant to them “Thanks, I’m up to date, now with love and respect can you go away I’ve got work to do.” This made them all laugh and they could see that it would stop any more emails being sent and they could get on with their work.

However had that coaching conversation not happened the email pingpong would have continued and a team of leaders could have kept on feeling ready to rip their hair out and scream in the corner. Take the time to look for the things you think that aren’t true and how they impact on your actions in a negative way. What are you going to do about it?

You let them do that to you???

In my book Fight the fear I talk about “Can you Justers.” They are the people far less likely to suffer from overwhelm because they are very good at moving tasks on to someone else. Look out for these Can you Justers in your life. They take advantage of those nice people who are true team players and want everyone to succeed. They also can be hiding their lack of skills of fears around tasks and so instead of dealing with them, they get someone else to do it for them.

Quite clever really, but deadly for you. You never have to be rude or confrontational however there are some great ways to be able to get the Can you Juster to take responsibility for themselves and give you back some much needed space.

Boundaries – so few of us have them. It is not illegal to say;

  • I’m sorry I can’t help you this morning, however I’m free this afternoon.
  • Is it okay if you don’t call me between 9 and 11 tomorrow because I have an important document to work on. Thank you.
  • I’m sorry however unless it’s an emergency I don’t answer work calls or emails after 9pm or at weekends.

Boundaries help define how you work, how you live and what people can expect from you. Where we lack boundaries people often feel put upon, overworked, stressed, unrespected and like they should quit.

It’s not a weakness to set boundaries, it’s a strength. If you fear this, then talk to the team, customers, suppliers, etc that you work with and ask them what would work for them and you. Not one or the other.

Steer clear of that!

When you are on the brink of falling off of your world, check out what you allow into your head. Ever really listened to the news or the weather?

Years ago the emotional words and words with hidden meanings weren’t used. So you didn’t get the weather presenter telling you it’s a dreary day out there. They’d say “wide spread drizzle.” Or “prolonged rain” Not “It’s going to be a miserable day out there.”

There’s plenty of countries in the world that would happily have a big downpouring. Water is the sustainable force in our world that we are all reliant on. And it’s not just the weather that falls foul of this. News presenters will often add words in that are there to make us feel an emotion about what is being said. Listen for them and it becomes quite shocking how the news is skewed.

Remember that nothing sells like bad news so you aren’t going to hear the kind of stories that The Good News Network shares;

US Cancer Death Rate Has Fallen by 27% in 25 Years – Study
Stranger Drives 2,300 Miles So He Can Reunite Beloved Dog With Boy Recovering From Surgery
India Has Saved Thousands of Lives by Increasing Sanitation Coverage from 40% to 90% in Just Four Years
Surgeons Successfully Implant World’s First 3D-Printed Rib – and They Plan On Doing Even More in the Future

All of these have happened (and a ton of other things that will make you smile, feel reconnected to the beauty, kindness and love in the world) and remind yourself that you are not alone. There are so many external influences that we allow into our head.

I was working with a client recently who said that other people’s driving infuriated them. I asked them how driving to work impacted on their day and the client told me how if they’d been cut up or had a tailgater trying to get in the boot of their car that their work colleagues knew because they didn’t walk into the office their coat tails were literally flapping and their feet could be heard across the office booming like giant foot falls. And yes, their whole day could then escalate into a day of things not going right and “idiots wrecking their day”

We often experience overwhelm that leads to burn out when we feel that we have to control everytnhing. The simple truth is that you can’t control everything in life. (That client certainly control the millions of drivers on the roads!) And yet they were enabling the world of cars to impact on the day, every day! You have to make the decision and ask the question “If I can’t change this how do I wish to feel about this that will enable me to keep positive?”

Get the junk out of your head.

Your body – the computer – yeh right!

Have you noticed that just before you go on holiday you feel like just getting out of bed has become hard work?

Or that you seem to pick up every illness there is?

That’s your body giving you a physical sign your body is not coping and it’s one you ignore at a high risk. Trust me the body eventually shouts at you “You didn’t listen to me when we got that bug, so now here’s glandular fever, the flu, a heart attack, adrenalin fatigue.”

The list is long and if you don’t listen to your body you will start hearing from it. I think some people feel that they are more successful and diligent if they work ridiculously long hours. Like it is something to be proud of. Assuming it’s some warped badge of honor.

As one business woman proudly replied to my announcement that I was popping out for lunch “Lunch? Lunch is for wimps!” I couldn’t believe anyone in the 21st century could have such a ridiculous idea of what was good for success (and health and happiness for that matter.) So much evidence points to the benefit to having a break. It’s not just good for your body it’s good for your creativity, problem solving skills, productivity and even IQ! I will stick with my lunch break thanks.

Are you really a procrastinator?

I was working with a client who wanted to deal with their procrastination because it was making them stressed. And stress out of control is well on the way to burn out. Interestingly while there were elements of procrastination impacting on them they discovered that when they put off writing a report to do the washing up (which cleary wasn’t as important as getting the report in before the deadline) they realised that they were actually creating a few moments for their brain to process what would be needed. The reframing of their actions enabled them to see that this was in fact a useful way of ensuring when they started that they got the job done.

Look for the procrastination in your life. In my experience there is usually a fear hidden there.

Find the fear.

Fight the fear.

And “magically” the procrastination disappears. And if your plan to deal with the procrastination is complicated it’s highly likely you will fail. As I said on social media the other day – if there was a tiger chasing you it wouldn’t take you many seconds to work out you needed to run. Keep it simple.

Not all things can be changed, fixed or controlled.

I read a great book that enabled me to bring polarity management into my leadership, performance and life coaching with awesome results. Polarity management. Identifying and managing unsolvable problems by Barry Johnson Ph.D is a great book that I highly recommend because so many of my clients want complete control and that is just impossible. You are setting yourself up for failure, impossible to achieve tasks, stress, feelings of inadequacy, anger, sadness and more and more grief.

However appreciating you can’t fix everything you can choose to see those things differently. Ask yourself this “If I don’t change how I feel about this and what actions I take when I know I can’t change or control this what will I be agreeing to?”

Really feel the pain here and then you will be able to create a new way of thinking with new actions so that you relinquich your need for ultimate control, because let’s be honest no one has that (or should have it!)

My clients know that by owning what is happening they can choose to take responsibility for it and change. You can’t change what you don’t accept to be true.

Now, what’s the plan going to be?

I’ve tons of advice here in my blog, and if you want a detailed structured approach my courses and books could be ideal for you.

And if you benefit from this article a quick click on the PayPal button makes this author and coach smile. Let me know how you get on.

  • February 26, 2021

Struggling to produce solutions for you and your team?

  • Do you find yourself struggling to understand how you can be confident at work but not at home or vice a versa?
  • Do you find you can easily create solutions for your work colleagues or friends but can’t do the same for yourself?

When we are too close to an issue it can be hard to separate what you believe to be true from what is actually going on so that you can create a powerful strategy to get better results in your personal and professional life.

Emotions and feelings get involved and most people attempt to fight these. (There’s a lot of science behind why this strategy I invented is so powerful, but let’s get straight into how to use it.)

Here is a quick strategy to help you in your personal and professional life create powerful solutions to any problem.

1. When you get flummoxed (what a great word) on the best course of action or even on how to be able to come up with ideas to explore, firstly you need to ignore the area where you are struggling. You are too close to it and it’s highly likely you will produce weak solutions due to this and your perception of the situation, your capabilities and even other people that may be involved.

We have a habit of producing fast answers because our brain wants to protect us and get the solution. It doesn’t realise it’s giving you solutions you’ve tried before that didn’t work that powerfully. This strategy overcomes this.

2. Think of an area of your life at work or home where you excel. It doesn’t have to be connected in any way to your issue or area you are looking to improve.

  • Maybe you rock at cooking every meal from scratch.
  • Maybe you are an amazing holiday organiser.
  • Maybe you have the natural ability to calm a roomful of kids down and make them happy with your creative ideas.
  • Maybe you can almost magically know what is wrong with a piece of kit and fix things that no one else can.

It doesn’t matter what it is, just bring something you excel at to the front of your mind.

ALARM BELLS WARNING – if you can’t think of anything, your first issue is to build your confidence.

Many people’s confidence is connected to external factors, for instance you have a great day so you feel confident but then you have a bad day and your boss says “Sorry but that just wasn’t good enough” and you feel like a failure with all your confidence zapped out of your body – this is not true confidence.

Confidence needs to be an inside job to ensure no matter what, you are resilient, can pick yourself up again when things are tough and can trust in the human you are to get exceptional results.

I will always monitor my client’s internal confidence levels to ensure they can achieve what they aim to for themselves, their organisations, and their teams. If you struggle confidence my course has 5 star reviews and works extremely fast – what I love best is that delegates say it works permanently and that’s what we want to see for confidence issues. Learn more here

3. Write down all the qualities, attributes, feelings, and emotions you have about this thing you excel at.

Don’t dismiss emotions. For some people, their list of skills will be very “action” focused for others it will be very much about the way it makes them, or their loved ones or colleagues feel. These are essential tell-tale signs of the science of who you are (I ensure all my clients learn to understand the science of who they are and how this impacts on them.)

Stop fighting who you are you won’t win that battle.

Mandie Holgate

What do you notice?
When you think about your insane ability to bake the dream cake are you meticulously organised ensuing everything is out before you start?

Do you like music on?

Do you insist on an apron?

No matter what the area of expertise create a very long list of what you notice and know to be true.

4. Don’t dismiss how difficult to do step 3 justice can be. If you’ve completed step 3 in less than 5 minutes, then it’s best you go back and ask yourself “Have I really listed everything that makes me exceptional at this?” This is not bragging we aren’t sharing it with anyone. You have to own your brilliance to be able to use those skills in other areas of your life.

5. Now go back to the start and think about the thing you are struggling to find solutions for.

Look at the list of your skills. How can you migrate these to your current challenge?

For instance. If you are awesome at organising holidays that everyone loves. Let’s take 3 skills and transfer the skills;

–              I achieve this by being very organised, I love a spreadsheet – pretty obvious that the current situation you are looking to overcome, resolve or perform exceptionally in needs a spreadsheet, right?

–              I arranged a family meeting to discuss everyone’s wants from the holiday – so to achieve your goal you won’t be alone? Who will you need to communicate with to ensure you understand what others are expecting from you and what you expect from them? How will this be organised? Communicated? Followed up with?

–              I like to do my research when it comes to holidays – see how this starts to become obvious? So, what research do you need to do? Was it realistic to just sit down and think you would produce exceptional solutions? Who will be able to help with this? If you don’t do research how does it make you feel? Do you feel unprepared? How does that effect you?

Lastly back to those emotions and feelings that so many hate. Ensure you migrate how it makes you feel when you nail something. When you perform exceptionally. Do not dismiss the importance of attaching those emotions to this current challenge.

My coaching clients learn they may not know how to achieve this result but starting with the mindset that says you can with the emotions you like to feel really works.

As with all my articles let me know how you get on. (If you benefit from this article feel free to share on social media and hitting the Paypal button is gratefully appreciated too).

This is obviously an abridged version of this strategy to get you started. I’m happy to have a chat anytime.

My coaching is incredibly unique. I’ve been coaching for many years and over the years I’ve trialled and enhanced my coaching style with techniques and tools from many different disciplines. This is works powerfully so if it’s not working for you, give it a bit more attention to detail, be honest with yourself and challenge yourself on what you believe to be true about yourself, the situation and what is possible. It’s often in the assumptions I can help a client to use this strategy to perform exceptionally well, overcoming overwhelm and overworking too.

  • February 12, 2021

How to deal with clicky environments and meetings & feel comfortable anywhere

In a room full of people you can just as easily feel totally alone or totally loved – every one can have an impact on that.

I attended a business-focused event and was having a great time when someone next to me whom I’d been chatting to for a little while admitted that it was “rather a clicky group”. People I don’t know have a habit of sharing their real feelings and intimate thoughts with me, perhaps because one of the skills I’m lucky to possess as a coach is that people feel like “they’ve known me for years.” You could tell this was the case on this occasion because the person I was talking to looked shocked that they’d basically admitted their true feelings on this organisation to what was for all intense purposes a complete stranger! The look of horror on their face summed it up. They were worried they’d be accused of being rude or disrespectful to the organsiation or of being a gossip.

I smiled to put their mind at rest that their thoughts were safe with me and added that having hosted thousands of events and worked with thousands of teams it can be hard to stop people from becoming a bit clicky. 

(Clicky is when some people seem to have “in jokes” and seem not to notice the bemused looks on other people’s faces as they feel on the outside and feel a little ousted from the inner workings of the group. It can be damaging to businesses, organisation and groups in many ways.) 

This person looked intrigued and I explained how as humans we need to feel connected and respected. It dates back to first civilisations that we chose to be together. We walk into a room and its natural to want to feel wanted and liked. It is also very similar to when you are training a group of people. You aim to get them to behave as a group, to share confidently and comfortably, knowing their views are as valid as anyone else’s.

It is traditionally known as norming, storming and performing in training; the steps you take a group through to successfully work together. The issue can arise when some of the group become well connected or are natural communicators and others are not. 

Here are my top tips for dealing with clicky environments;

It’s not their fault – Not everyone notices clicky environments. Some people can be oblivious to the way people are feeling and therefore unable to alter the way they communicate and act or encourage others to either. Therefore firstly, accept that just because you notice the “atmosphere” some will not. Being sensitive to these things can be a good thing, so accept that you have an ability to care about other people’s feelings in any environment. It could also be that because they are on “the inside” and feel comfortable it doesn’t bother them, whatever the reason it is not imagined and if it is making you feel a certain way what can you do about it?

Choice – do you have a choice to be there?

Sometimes you can choose to move on and be with other people and sometimes you’ve no choice but to find a way through these environments. Before you consider what you can choose to do about clicky environments ask yourself if you need to actually be a part of them?

Is there the option to have the confidence to walk away? This may be walking away emotionally and not physically.

FATE – This is about Feelings, Actions, Thoughts and Emotions. So, before you attend somewhere that you know is likely to be clicky and its likely to make you feel a certain way remember this acronym. And here’s why;

First of all work out what result you want from being in this group?

Do you want to be heard, gain knowledge, new business, connections?

Have the end in your mind before you even get there.

Then consider how you will want to feel and what emotions you would like to experience.

To help with the answer to this consider how you normally feel in this group;

What emotions does it create?

Do you start to feel inadequate? Self-conscious? Worried? Nervous?

What happens then?

How does that impact on the way you feel and the emotions you feel?

Do you feel sad? Lacking in energy? Unable to focus? Upset?

Think about what you usually feel in this environment and then ask yourself what would the opposite feelings and emotions that I’d like to feel be like?

Lastly what actions will you need to take to be able to get the result you want to?

The answer to this is not the first 5 things that come into your head, I suggest you write a long long list of possibilities, include random ideas, sensible ones and ones that seem too bizarre to even include, for instance;

  • Wear ear defenders so you can’t hear them.
  • Get on the table and start dancing so you are the centre of the attention instead.
  • Introduce yourself to the clickiest group and ask them questions to engage with them.
  • Imagine you are a superhero and have a super protective suit that protects you from negativity and negative emotions.

These may seem like daft ideas; however, it is in the space that you create to come up with ideas that your mind will help create actions that could work for you. I had one client who was severely bullied in the workplace and just imagining a protective bubble around their desk stopped them from hearing or feeling the insults. They went on to run the entire department!

Whose the boss – It’s not always appropriate or you could feel that you wouldn’t be taken seriously, or be ridiculed (consider how professional an environment is this if they do not treat a guest concerns appropriately?) however as someone who hosts events if I felt there was someone in the room that was not getting maximum benefit from the event I’d be devastated, so I am sure many organisers would feel the same (See also the top tip below). This will come down to gauging the group and hosts interaction with each other. If appropriate advise the person in charge, that you would like to share some feedback if that is appropriate to give. That way the conversation remains their responsibility and their choice whether they wish to learn from it.

If you are the person in charge and you are confronted with this knowledge or become aware of clicky behaviour there are a number of things you can do.

1. People that project clicky behaviour are likely to feel comfortable interjecting and chatting amongst themselves throughout the meeting, as the organiser you can ensure that you give a polite reminder to listen considerately to each other at the start of the session. Or something along the lines of “It’s great to see so many of you here today, let’s show our new guests how welcoming we are, and we’re really interested to learn more about you and your work.”

You are basically suggesting that you would like consideration and a standard of respect from everyone in the room, however in a way that does not place blame or guilt on any party.

2. You can change your tonality and pitch if you have someone in the group who insists on creating that clicky feeling by interrupting etc. A dog like a child doesn’t necessarily understand what has been said but speak quieter or louder and they get the message just as clearly. It is not about shouting if anything a quieter tone with the appropriate pauses can be just as dramatic and powerful. 

Knowing the ground rules – As the host or as the guest knowing the boundaries and ground rules can help. If you have been attending an event or meeting for a long time it can be easy to forget what is the standard that is expected and as humans who we’ve already established like to connect and be liked, we are not keen on confrontation or pointing out mistakes (did you know in the UK according to YouGov that 34% of people would never or rarely complain about their food if they weren’t happy, they just wouldn’t eat there again!) So, we really do like to keep the peace, as such if the rules of the group are naturally mentioned it can take the tension out of the request for a fair environment.

This article first appeared in Thrive Global, 14th February 2018.

  • December 14, 2020

Intro into – How to Control the uncontrollable.

In my first article for The Human Resources Report I outline how to control the uncontrollable.

In a time before elections, Brexit and pandemics we still had a global issue impacting on the world’s economy; Stress.
A WHO led
 study estimated that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. (1) Stress can be caused when we feel like we are losing control, so when you face something so big it’s completely out of your control what can you do about it?
I’m going to share how to control the uncontrollable. A great example would be company A who in the first lock down reduced their absenteeism for their team of 250+ to zero and they said it was “In no small part down to our coaching with you.” I don’t share this so you think I’m awesome I share to prove the uncontrollable can be controlled.
When people feel like they can’t control a situation it can lead to stress, guilt, anxiety and many other negative emotions, put that in the working environment, and I’ve seen it cause;

  • Grapevine mentality.
  • Reduced productivity.
  • Over working and burnout.
  • Micromanagement.
  • Illness
  • Bullying.
  • Them and Us mentality.
  • Defeatism.
  • Anger management issues.
  • Poor teamwork.
  • Lack of creativity.
  • And possibly worse of all a drop in profitability and sustainability for the company.


LET’S LOOK AT WHAT YOU CAN DO:
IS IT TRUE?

Working from home has featured in many coaching sessions this year often with clients stating there’s “Nothing I can do about this” or (my pet hate) “It is the way it is.” When I hear this statement, I know that this is not the case and that it’s the root cause of why the organisation is experiencing issues or not growing as they’d like.
So, the first thing you need to do is challenge what you believe to be true. Statements like;

  • I had to send those emails.
  • It’s always happened like that.
  • It wouldn’t work any other way.
  • I must work that many hours to get it all done.

These are signs that you need to challenge what’s believed to be true. You don’t try and stop the sun rising? Why, because you know it to be out of your control. Do you try and get out of the way of a stampeding bull? Why, because you believe you have control.

These are 2 obvious examples however at work they are more subtle and they are the statements that no one pays attention to. So, learn to!

GET CREATIVE

When you find the hidden beliefs in your organisation your brain will instantly come to your aid with solutions, the tragedy is that these are rarely the right ones. When coaching a team at this stage it is only on page 2 or even page 3 of a flip chart will we discover the really powerful solutions. The reason?

YOUR BRAIN LIKES TO PROVE YOU RIGHT.

So when you say 1 plus 1, it’s already proudly given you the answer. This stops you from finding new more productive ways of working since your brain wants to keep you safe – believing you’ve done all you can and there’s nothing that can be done.

It gets some raised eyebrows when I get people to think with a magic wand. “If you could do anything to fix this, regardless of cost, time, skill what would you do? If bringing Elvis back from the dead would help, we’ve got magic so what would you do?”

This gets people laughing (Or embarrassed for me – that’s all good – challenging your beliefs is tough) and more relaxed so it’s easier to deal with challenges at work when you don’t feel responsible for them. If you are going to use this tool, ensure you ask follow up questions like;

  • “And what would that give you?”
  • “And why would you benefit from that?”
  • Or “And what would that lead to?”

This is where the powerful ideas are!

SHARED GOALS – ACCEPTED AND APPRECIATED DIFFERENCES

In a company you’ll have those that are predominantly interested in the end result, those that are interested that it delivers to your customers what was promised and those that want to ensure it comes on budget.

Trying to get them to think differently won’t work and can cause a lot of stress as different departments feel they have no control over the outcome.

Enabling everyone to appreciate their different views and priorities and how they come to together for the result helps reduce stress, which leads us on to a massive issue when we feel we lack control..

COMMUNICATION RULES

By now you can see that control is not always about control but your perception of it. When you bring everyone together to a common goal that they feel invested in it can be hard to not end up with email mountains. I’ve never seen a team I couldn’t reduce their workload for. Time management improves and staff get happier when they don’t feel like they are constantly chasing their tail to do everything for everyone.
As a company create communication rules. (Go back to the crazy magic wand idea to achieve this.) They can include;

  • No emails to be sent on a Friday afternoon – stops the Sunday night panic to get ahead of the game.
  • Stop blanket “what do I do” emails and encourage “Here’s 3 solutions which would work best” emails?
  • Open door policy applies, Thursday afternoon is quiet afternoon – only email/call if it cannot wait – urgent.
  • Is it really urgent or are you trying to move it from your desk?

These aren’t comfortable conversations, but they help restore a sense of control. If…

BOUNDARIES

Are enforced. Enforced sounds like a harsh word however to restore a sense of control in any environment if everyone creates the rules, everyone lives by them.

If after a few weeks you discover the rules aren’t working for you, don’t be frightened to go through the process again and see what’s working and what needs to alter.

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois studied occupational stress and employee well-being, those who have greater “boundary control” over their work and personal lives were better at creating a stress buffer that helped protect them from falling into a negative-rumination trap. (2) and research also teaches us that those that feel like they are respected, and part of the process are usually 90% more committed to a positive result, so it’s a process worth investing in.

And lastly, we all know that trying to have complete control is a cause of stress, therefore by lowering that need for control you can become more in control – ironic right?

Check out Polarity management by Barry Johnson PHD (3), his theory on managing uncontrollable situations has featured in more than a few coaching sessions. he teaches you a more powerful way to see the uncontrollable, instead of trying to control it, work on balancing it and says “those that develop the ability to distinguish between solvable problems and unsolvable polarities and have the ability to respond effectively to each will outperform those who can’t distinguish between them and who try to address all issues from a problem solving perspective.”

The good news for you and your team is that no matter what the future may throw at you and let’s be honest after this year it could be anything, with these skills you are ready for anything, resilient with an adaptive mindset ready to embrace the uncontrollable.

This is such an important subject I will be bringing you future ideas around this to support you and your team. If you would like personalised solutions, do get in touch. My coaching is very unique and gets exceptional results. Working with you and your team will be an honour.

(1) https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/mental-health-in-the-workplace

(2) https://www.mdadvices.com/ArticleDetails/3/control-over-work-life-boundaries-creates-crucial-buffer-to-manage-after-hours-work-stress

(3) https://amzn.to/3m5SYaT

  • December 11, 2020

A coaching journey

Here the wonderful Sheena Ramgobin talks about why she came to me for coaching that started in March 2020. Sheena is very vocal about her experience of coaching and keen to ensure others reach their true potential too. I asked Sheena 5 questions about our time together.

What was the reason you decided to work with Mandie?

 I had watched Mandie for a while on social media before I approached her on the phone, I liked her honesty, down to earth approach, says it as it is. She knew what she was talking about, not puffed up, no false promises, just plain old fashioned honesty, trust, and a clear ability to understand you the person.

What were you looking to achieve?

I wanted to get all my ideas, all my dreams and wishes out of my head         and for someone to help me understand where I should start, help me structure the journey and give me direction.

Most of all have someone understand my purpose and add clarity. With Mandie I could be honest with my feelings, what my fears were. I always knew I had a unique business but had spent years procrastinating. I was desperate to find someone who was aligned to my values who could help me. I was desperate to help more people but I needed a plan, helping others to grow and being in-service to others was key, but I had to have a business plan as a  foundation so that could I learn and grow

How did you feel about the coaching process?

It was if someone had opened my brain and performed surgery, and sorted my head out!

I had space to think and create from a business mindset. It was as if by some magic, I was awakened and was on fire ready to take action at long last. The outcome was a mind map of all my wishes, dreams, plans, actions.

Something had clicked into place. To elevate my plans I needed a safe resting ground to thrash it out. That’s what Mandie gave me and pure honesty from a deep place of love for helping others.

Was there anything that surprised you?

Mandie listened to me talk a hundred miles an hour and managed to absorb every little detail, unravel it and come up with a plan that was to rocket me over the rainbow.

What results do you feel the coaching gave you?

In a nutshell an awakening that shifted me from procrastination into action, and I haven’t stopped taking action every single day!! As a result I’m able to help more people and give all my love to my purpose every single day.

How will the coaching impact on your future?

It has already!

I wanted to achieve everything all in one go, but I went back to the coaching plan and that is my guiding compass to get back on track.

My results have been outstanding and absolutely amazing. Sales mountain was key, I’ve gone from creating products from £5 to £975 and I’m booking into next year. My Profit from end of March 2020 when I saw Mandie to now is £10,000+. I never thought this was possible. Mandie’s Sales Mountain only worked because she understood my purpose, she totally got me.

This is only just the beginning!! Now I can reinvest that money into helping others, I already have clients from abroad who have found my brand in such a short period of time. I am so grateful and forever blessed t have crossed Mandie’s path.

What would you say to anyone considering coaching with Mandie?

Absolutely 100% do it now, don’t wait, time is precious. You will be left with a feeling that I can only describe as an awakening, Mandie is the catalyst you need to power you up to success. She is a guiding compass. She is a coach for life, always there for you no matter what. She believes in you, she is your number one supporter, she invests so much love and time in you and the journey. You’re never on your own.

SheenaShanti

Thank you Sheena for sharing your coaching journey with my audience. To have a chat direct with Sheena you can contact Sheena here.

To start your personal and professional growth email me here or contact me at (44) +7989 935556 It would be my honour to help you achieve great things too.

  • November 12, 2020
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