I was invited to speak at the worlds biggest online conference for Luminary Learning, a company that works with some of the biggest organisations in the world – 18 speakers, 17 hours. (They are doing a bigger one in October and I’m speaking at that too!)
And in the lead up to the big day I had meetings with the team to see if I would fit. I was keen for this to happen because I’m not your usual conference speaker and I didn’t want to stand out (for all the wrong reasons) like the proverbially sore thumb!
I rarely have slides (unless the hosts really want them) and I don’t’ usually follow a set script. Choosing instead to find out what they want for their audiences and what they want the result to be. In that way I will create a mass group coaching style session that is really powerful and ensures people get personalised solutions rather than generic ideas.
As I chatted with the hosts, I ended up showing them my Disney mug of coffee, my tiny dog and even my Olaf Keyring… such a grown up. They loved my honest, fun style and said that with my exceptional knowledge on growing businesses and people I’d be perfect.
So all good right?
Except when you don’t see your audience whether you are a speaker, professional or a business leader it can be tough.
Usually body language gives us massive clues on this. The crossed arms changing to hand at face in deep thought is always a good one to aim for. Along with obviously the laughter and relaxed poses.
So with our world moving to online can you deliver to the same high standard?
Yes of course but watch out for the confidence levels.
As the day of the big event got closer, I found myself writing copious amount of notes on the subject of leadership and building great people. You know, the subject I spend my life coaching people and teams on!
How ridiculous I found myself thinking you know this stuff inside out. “Why are you writing it down?” “Why are you adding stats that you could recite in your sleep!” I shrieked at myself. “Are you likely to lose your mind between now and Saturday!”
It was a dip in confidence. Not to be confused with a sensible level of nerves because you want to do well. One is good for your performance, the other can destroy it. (If you aren’t sure pick up a copy of Fight the fear where I help you reduce your fears to a sensible level often getting rid of them all together but being mindful that sometimes a little nerves is good for you.)
So I did what any good coach would do and I talked to another coach. Me and Gordon Tredgold have been proverbially kicking each other’s butts for years. In fact it’s thanks to him I’ve achieved more and I know I’ve been able to help Gordon too. (I love relationships that are win win like that. I highly recommend Gordon’s books, and yes you guessed it Gordon highly recommends mine too!)
So I messaged Gordon. Something along the lines of “Hey Gordon, I’ve got the major wobbles about Saturday. I know I can do this with bells on but still….”
Gordon replied with the right words as we usually do for each other, but when you are bordering on a dip in confidence that can induce fear (and trust me as author of Fight the fear I know this stuff (again inside out!) if you don’t fix the confidence then fear is only a step away.) So despite the fact I believed Gordon and if Gordon Tredgold tells you, you are an awesome speaker, then you are an awesome speaker I still was feeling concerned at a level I didn’t want to take to the event.
“Where is your evidence Mandie?” I asked. “Have you got on a stage before and tanked it?”
“Have you let an audience or hosts down?”
“Er again, I’m going to have to say No”
“Have you made audiences laugh and learn and have eureka moments that changed lives and business?”
At this stage I was beginning to hate myself just like my clients do when they are faced with the facts that they don’t suck and they are awesome! I knew how my coaching clients felt under my scrutiny and it wasn’t easy to accept but accept it I did. I’m good at my job.
I wanted to share this with you because people often say “You are so confident I bet you never doubt yourself” As a human we all do it, the difference is as a coach I can get myself back into a great mindset and get the results I want because I coach myself and control what is allowed to go on inside my brain. Hence the new book Taking control of your mind is so popular because it helps you do just that.
And just so I don’t let that dip in confidence come back I printed off the amazing words that one of the team sent to me.
If you want to stay positive it’s important you give yourself visual clues so you don’t revert to negative and stay there because that’s not good for you, your team or your business. And remember people like to be with positive people. People that inspire and motivate them. Those people make tough days and obstacles to success so much easier to overcome.
If you would like to know more about any aspect of this feel free to get in touch and if this made you rethink what you allow to happen in your head a donation on the button on the right would be appreciated, thank you.
I can also request white labelled copies of Fight the fear for your company – minimum order 100 copies.
That is a sentence that I’ve held dearly for so many years.
It helps you when you want to achieve.
It helps you when you face adversity.
It can even help you when you are rushed to A and E and are scared to death you are dying.
Whatever your life looks like or what you want it to look like this article could change your actions by the time you finish reading it, ready?
For those that aren’t into Star wars that phrase is said by tiny ancient Yoda (who looks like he couldn’t take on a toddler and beat them in a battle, although not sure who would want to do that!) it is as his prodigy is attempting to get his spaceship (bear with me non scifi lovers) out of the bog.
Luke the young prodigy proclaims, “I don’t believe it!” As tiny Yoda effortlessly lifts the ship not just free of the bog vines and mud but with just the gentle lifting of his hand lands it gracefully next him. Yoda turns to Luke and pretty much says “And that my dear boy is why you couldn’t do it.”
“Do or do not there is no try.”
Okay so what’s that got to do with your life and happiness?
Meet Sarah (Name changed because all clients are always confidential unless they go around shouting about working with me) Sarah had been working with me for a couple of months and was getting used to the fact that you can’t hide from yourself in our sessions. She flippantly said “Well I will give that go. I promise”
Give that a go?” I asked, “What do you think your chances are of success I asked?” and I added “What are you actually saying in your head about this plan of action?”
The deep sigh and “Wow I hate you look” (it’s good to get that look from your client because it means you’ve found what is really standing in the way of what they want. And it’s always handled with love and respect. Usually leading to clients coaching themselves in the middle of our sessions!) led to them saying “Well I suppose if I’m honest, it’s a great plan, it’s what I really want, but I’m not convinced that I can actually do it.”
Sarah was going to tackle her coaching plan of action with a “I will give it a go” attitude. When we analysed that viewpoint, she could see that;
The quickest way to fix this (as Sarah and I did) was to;
If she had gone with the I’ll give it go (try) attitude her results would not have been as epic as they were.
On the opposite side of this, I also work with a lot of business owners and managers who have long term health issues. It is very hard to be a dedicated passionate hard worker and find you have a body that won’t sustain all you want to get done that week. Learning that lesson is not easy, and it tends to lead to a lot of stress as we try to let no one down and achieve everything for everyone. For myself I have learnt that I will do or do not, not try.
A client who had recently been given a diagnosis of a long-term condition that could potentially greatly damage their business and their earning potential came to me for this reason. Attempting to be the before illness person was adding so much stress because they physically with all the will in the world could not get everything done. No amount of late-night working worked. If anything, it just exasperated their symptoms. Would they have to quit their business and give up?
No, through our time together (I only worked with that client 4 times) they learnt that it was their decision to decide what they spent their time.
It is not easy to say No to people (Heck there’s a whole chapter on it in my book Fight the fear because it can be so detrimental to our success.) So, learning what to allow into their life and what would be dropped was difficult but had a massively positive impact.
If you find yourself trying to please everyone and get everything done;
Thankfully the do or do not attitude has had far reaching results for myself my clients and their teams.
It led to me finding a solution to my 8 years of illness last May and now I’m well. Working full time and very grateful for my health. And thanks to the try or try not method, you can imagine how epic my time management and success rate has become?
It leads us finally to faith. Try or try not says. I have faith in what I do. I have no faith in what I can achieve. I have no faith in who I am.
So, ask yourself this. Do you have faith in what you will do? Who you are? And what you can achieve?
Get in touch anytime.
I love the phone ringing 01206 381482. Or if that feels to scary to phone in the first instant firstname.lastname@example.org I’m here to help.
Over the last few years, I’ve seen a worrying increase in the number of people looking to quit their “high Flying, this is what I’ve always wanted careers” for a different life. More and more people are becoming disenchanted and disengaged with working for large corporations and the joys and treasures that this can hold for them. I’m inundated with people looking to set up their own business and “escape” the city. It makes it sound like Alcatraz and for many perhaps it is. With a growing trend for down sizing, a rural lifestyle and a better work life balance how can a corporation compete with working around families and life styles, across a chatty family dinner table, a commute to the back garden in your slippers with a dog in tow and no one telling you what to do or how to do it?
If you look after a team and are seeing this trend what can you do to look after your team and show them that actually, it’s a great place to be and still reach your targets each month?
As well as the increase in highly successful people looking to run away that I’m coaching, I’m also seeing a trend for more people who wish to showcase to their staff that we genuinely do care, and we do want you to achieve and excel as much as we wish the organisation to. So how can you ensure your team are happy and what should you steer clear of to stop your team from proverbially running for the hills?
Expect them to care as much as you do.
It’s likely you are highly dedicated, hard working person who gets what they want in life. And as such you find yourself looking after a large team of people. And one of the first things that many clients learn is that your interpretation of what matters and your definition of what is important may differ greatly from that of the people that work for you. You care about the end result because it’s your department, however, not everyone has that level of passion for their work. Take a step back and imagine that you are a member of your team. Do you feel that you strive for the bosses’ job? A seat on the board? Or do you feel that you may have other priorities in life? There is no right or wrong answer here. And by understanding the different drivers in peoples lives, you can tap into this to help people feel cared for and listened to on their own values and passions in life.
Don’t listen to them.
I actually once heard a person say “You’re not here to think you are here to work” And as incredible as that sounds and as far removed as this ethos is to most organisations that understand the need to get the most out of the people. Inherently it can still feel like this is the case to some. If you want your team to love working with you and your firm then you need to help people feel heard. And that’s easy to achieve at a review however not so easy when the deadline is looming and 3 people have called in sick. Learn phrases that feel natural to you that enable you to effectively say “I hear what you are saying and wish to address this let’s get this project completed and let’s book a date to discuss.” Or “This must feel incredibly (frustrating, disappointing, hurtful, disrespectful, etc) to you, and I want you to know that this concerns me, I would like to look at ways to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” Showcasing that you wish to hear their views makes people feel valued. Which brings me on to….
Argue with them.
The minute someone argues with you, it get’s your back up. Try it with your partner, sibling or child and you will see that if you push against a person, they will push back. Arguing is never productive. A difference of opinion is different, and it’s about learning powerful ways to communicate that enables that person to hold on to their own views and hear yours too, without emotion, guilt or intention. Their view is their view, and you don’t have rights over that. Remember that person has got to this stage of their life with their beliefs, values and experiences. You will have a unique combination of those too that enable you to think, behave, act and achieve as you do. Helping someone to overcome their limitations and obstacles does not start with a conversation that says “You are wrong.”
Shut them out.
A quick way to see staff leave is to shut them out of the big picture. You can quickly turn your organisations next big plan for success into a war zone of gossip, and upset if you don’t help your team feel involved in the big picture. Organisations hit hard times and to shut people out so that they don’t panic, doesn’t work. If anything it can create “The conspiracy theory attitude” that says “We are all doomed!” Helping your team to appreciate what you as a team face and listening to concerns and ideas will help to make people feel like they matter and that you aren’t about to cut them loose. Batting down the hatches can scare people fast.
Moan about people.
It has been proved that by talking about a third party many people feel like they are part of the “in crowd”. It is often used as a way to make that person feel special and valued, because “I’m sharing this with you because I trust you” feelings. That’s great on one level, however subconsciously (even if not with awareness) if you are prepared to talk about someone else, how does that person not know you are going to talk about them too. Professionalism indicates that most people understand this, however what about with other companies, suppliers or departments? Speak as you wish to hear about yourself. Bambi’s mate Thumper had that one sussed “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” As many clients have learnt saying nothing can be a far more powerful way to get your message across on a negative.
On a planet with over 7 billion people, it’s not surprising that you may rub someone up the wrong way and they may dislike you. Your job is not to be Mr or Mrs Popularity your job is to help everyone work together effectively and powerfully as a team feeling like they matter and are well respected and valued as a member of that team. And that can get tricky when personalities clash. What you see as an insulting way of speaking is just another persons idea of a fun way of behaving. What you see as professional may seem cold hearted to some. Learning to see the world from other people’s view points can help. And learn to listen to people’s natural style of communication. If you have investigated this for yourself you may already know about the different styles of learning that people may favour. And this extends to their natural chosen way of communicating and learning about the world that surrounds them. If you are an auditory learner and you are speaking with a kinesthetic learner, you can alienate that person and make them feel like they are not being heard or understood if you don’t pick up on their verbal and visual clues. It’s a whole article on its own to look at the power of using other people’s natural styles of communication, so for now, start to consider;
Does this person use lots of body language?
Does this person use words like “I see what you mean” or “I hear what you are saying” or “I feel that this is the best approach”?
Don’t say thank you.
It may seem so obvious and yet the amount of times I’ve had people tell me that they just got fed up with no one ever saying thank you. “It’s your job, what do I need to thank them for?” I’ve heard in retaliation. The fact is it takes a short amount of time to say thank you and gratitude is such a powerful tool in so many areas of our lives. These people weren’t marched in and made to work in your offices, they choose to. Okay, they may have mortgages and mouths to feed however ultimately they are making the decision to invest in working for your organisation to get them what they want in life. And that is not just about perks and salaries. Taking all the praise and forgetting to share the glory can kill their attitude to you and the organisation. Some people don’t need praise, they are just pleased to see the job done and go home at night, however, I’ve seen many a person light up when they’ve plucked up the courage to say to their boss “actually do you know you never say thank you?” and that person has appreciated this and started to say thank you more. That member of your team feels appreciated and respected and that is ultimately what we all strive for in life, not just the joys and treasures of a corporate career.