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
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.
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!)