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Strategies to start your working week with – that power you to the weekend!

1. Proactive not reactive

Stop doing the thing you see first on your laptop/phone. Stop starting the day with what everyone else wants to tell you (i.e., email). This makes your day reactionary not proactive. You may have a job that requires you to know what everyone else needs but get savvy about this (see strategy number 2).

Otherwise, this is 1 reason you get to the end of the working day (week) with your to do list unfinished but everyone else happy!

2. Feelings fail your to do list and performance

By nature of being human you want people to like you, we all do. It’s written into our ancient Cave human DNA – this means we often prioritise others needs over our own. It’s good for making you feel appreciated and loved but bad for your performance and productivity. If you work alone or with a team, make sure you have a communication policy that enables quiet sessions so you can power on.

Did you know that when you complete things on your to do list, your brain gets a hit of good feel chemicals? This is why many write a list (See strategy 4 on why it may be not working for you and how to fix it). Think of your day and ask yourself where will there be time to be quiet and take highly focused action?

3. Communicate the communication policy

When you create a communication policy you are writing a document that encourages high performance and good working practices (this is a written document for many of my clients that enables large teams to work in various ways that are most responsive to the individual but with the organisation at its heart). However, a communication policy is nothing without communicating it exists and honouring the boundaries it creates.

So how in your working day do you impose boundaries on you, your time, your communication, email, social media, interaction, etc to ensure you perform to a high standard? List them. Is it going to give you the discipline and organisation your week needs?

4. Write a list – A short list

Many people love lists, as already touched on this is often to give a sense of achievement. If you are achieving the same things every day, then it’s not working. If you are picking up the big evil, “I really don’t want to look at that” document/email/letter/form then you are giving your brain a powerful message that says, “we can achieve anything!”

Did you know the jobs you love take longer and the jobs you loathe take less time? That’s the perception of reality in action. So, your to do list needs to be strategic to work with the intricacies of the way the mind likes to think and work;

  • Only have 3 to 5 actions on your to do list.
  • Have a now goal and a long-term goal on your to do list – what 1 action needs to be completed for each? Don’t move on to action 2 until action 1 is completed. (So yes, you do need to work out what actions could be necessary and what actions will be done in what order – this is usually completed with a coach to ensure you are dealing with all aspects that stops growth, performance and results.
  • IF something has sat on your to do list for over 2 weeks, it’s time to ask yourself if you should ditch it or do it? Either way don’t let it take up 1 more moment of your mind.
  • Consider everything written on that list will take up brain space – this is partially why I recommend that you concentrate on 1 thing for a maximum of 40 minutes, then swap for 5 to 10 minutes. It gives your brain space to process what you were working on.
  • With organisation, forethought and structure what could be automated, outsourced or employed to another? Save time in the long run with just this strategy.

5. Coffee, coffee and more coffee.

You want to create an automatic response in your brain so that when you do certain actions, your brain gets this boost of knowledge that “We are going to perform!” To start the week motivated it’s not just about caffeine.

What would give your brain the mental stimulation that you are about to perform to a high standard?

  • Music can alter the state in which your brain thinks. What music gets you buzzed up and hyper? What music makes you calm? Play with music to find the style that gets you motivated and be mindful that this may differ from the music you need to be flowing creatively or highly focused – high focus often needs instrumental music.
  • Aromatherapy oil – I like rosemary in the office in the diffuser. The rainbow light is a reminder that we are about to sit down and crack on.
  • Not just coffee. There’s nothing wrong with a few cups of coffee, but is there a big glass of water on your desk too? Did you know water can make you 5% cleverer? Well that’s what Mark Gardner, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, and Dr Caroline Edmonds at the University of East London found – those hydrated performed on average 5% better! They also found it aided concentration in younger students by 30% and encouraged a “good mood” feel in adults (1).
  • Lighting. It may seem obvious, but if you don’t have a great view and poor lighting it can damage concentration. Your brain can’t wake up! I had one client that took fairy lights into the office. Their colleagues jested “Is it Christmas?”, but the joke was on them when they were finishing work a whole hour earlier every night and seemed “A lot more chilled and responsive” Never dismiss the little things for you or your staff – this often bring the biggest change.

6. Think different.

I estimate that at least 50 companies I worked with last year complained they hated Monday meetings. “Ergh, I know I’ve a mountain of jobs on my desk and I’m sat in a boring meeting that has nothing to do with me!” was often a retort I heard. Change your way of communicating with your team and making things flow well. I could write a book on high performing meetings, but here’s a few thoughts to get you started;

  • Is Monday the best day? What about a Friday recap and then a Tuesday meeting instead?
  • Does everyone need to be there? Sometimes staff are included so they are in the know. The minutes of the meeting can be enough with an opportunity to discuss in the next meeting if they wish to attend. Don’t let anyone think this is an opportunity to bypass their thoughts or opinions. Make it optional or better still ask for their views on when, who and how meetings are hosted – this is always the most powerful way to make each meeting high performing.
  • Pre-prepared – suggestions. Allow a confidential way for people to add thoughts to a meeting. Are all meetings the same? Do you have an early week update and advise, a learning and development, areas for improvement and/or a innovation and ideas meeting? It’s unrealistic to make a brain to sit through many styles of meeting at once and perform well. So, think about what styles of meeting are needed – including who, how often and in what format – they will obviously differ. Defining them makes meetings motivational and beneficial, instead of tiresome and endurance exercises!

7. Stop.

The start of the week will benefit from 5 to 10 minutes where you stop. To do this effectively, it could be mindfulness or meditation. Taking 5 minutes to watch the birds in the garden, or just sit and zone out. A walk to work where you don’t have headphones in or your phone in hand. Just notice the world around you. Simple mindfulness processes that I teach don’t need an empty mind and an hour of yoga. If they are done well, it’s a quick way to help your mind start the week raring to go.

What these processes do is allow your brain to start the week calmly, which means it has spent the weekend subconsciously considering what you left on your desk, and that means your brain can come up with ideas often without your input at all. So, stop and start calmly, not with everyone else’s priorities, actions and needs first.

(1) https://www.westminster.ac.uk/news/just-half-a-bottle-of-water-could-boost-students-exam-success-research-finds

  • April 19, 2022

The importance list — where are you?

I’ve also shared this article to my @Medium account so if you don’t like reading you can listen – alas it’s not my voice but a great way to process the strategies and ideas I share.

like to share secrets with you. The strategies that most won’t tell you until you’ve spent some money, that’s not my style. I believe the right clients will always find me and I want to be accessible for all — no matter what your budget.

Often when I’m working with clients, I hear worrying statements that set off alarm bells on what is stopping them from achieving what they want and often suffering, that tell me that person puts everyone else first and themselves last.

Here I share with you a quick and easy exercise to ask yourself where you see yourself in the importance list, why it’s important and the strategies to fix it.

Why you need to put yourself on the importance list.

  • I may be coaching a team or an individual but regardless I test where people place themselves in their world.
  • Do you walk in the door after a long day and start dealing with the whole family’s needs?
  • Do you stop what you are doing and instantly crack on with whatever task your teammates, staff or boss throw at you?
  • Do you change your plans at a moments notice to keep the peace and do what others want instead?

These are pretty obvious ones, but many are so adaptable (which can be great to be agile and ready for anything) that they bend to everyone’s beck and call and that’s when you can have serious issues.

These include (not exclusive list);

  • Not completing your to do list.
  • Feeling stressed.
  • Working long hours.
  • Feeling frustrated with staff/boss/colleagues.
  • Feeling undervalued.
  • Hating your job/life/partner.
  • Feeling unappreciated.
  • Feeling burnout and unwell — physically and mentally.

In the work place I see this impact on;

  • Productivity.
  • Staff relations.
  • Stress management.
  • Task completion.
  • Compliance.
  • Management style.
  • Leaders’ sanity!
  • Communication.
  • Respect.
  • Grape vine chatter.

This quick and easy exercise is great to understand how you see yourself in the world both personally and professionally and how others see themselves.

It can be a real revelation as people realise, they’d not valued themselves as much as they should.

This can play a massive part in why people put up with poor work environments, don’t speak up about issues, concerns or ideas and even damage the organisation.

Utilise this exercise and learn from it and you can see;

  • Improved communication.
  • Time management.
  • Stress management.
  • Resilience.
  • Achieving new challenging goals.
  • Overcoming adversity.
  • Building confidence.
  • Dealing with change adversity.

And so much more that impacts on performance, success and happiness.

With your team you can use this exercise to understand how they value themselves, assess their level of self-belief and check their confidence levels — on confidence a note of caution — if your confidence goes up and down you are likely to be suffering from external confidence instead of internal confidence — this link will fix that. https://mandiie-holgate-business-life-coach.teachable.com/p/how-to-rocket-your-confidence

So, this is it…

Imagine a pile of clean washing. At the top you’ve got the clothes you and your household wear the most — they go through the washing process most weeks.

Then further down there’s that outfit you wore at that posh do and haven’t got around to putting away yet.

Then at the bottom there’s the things that haven’t seen the light of day in years. In fact, there’s a good chance that the last time you saw that garment you had a 90’s perm and would scream if you met George Michael, Kylie or Jon Bon Jovi!

At the bottom where that grey broken bra lives, those pants that have nearly lost their elasticity and risk an embarrassing moment.

So, picture it. At the top where the fast processed items are, is your ten out of 10 and down in the gregs of your wash basket, with your youth and grey pants is 0 out of 10. Where do you sit?

When I do this exercise with audience and teams, we quickly see how people see themselves. It tells me a lot about their confidence levels, self-belief, ability to communicate powerfully and even get their to do list done.

Straight away some will shout out “10!” So, we know they’ve confidence to put themselves first when it matters.

Then there are those that fold their arms and say, “Well realistically it should be a 5, right?” which means they are asking me what they should think and gives me some warning signs that their importance in the world, family, work is not all it could be.

(Remember this is not about putting yourself all others and forgetting they exist. This is about the internal gauge that tells you that your needs matter as much as anyone else’s. There are so many feel good motivational quotes about this, but rarely do people appreciate the true damage of putting yourself down there with the old grey bra and pants!

And then there are those who say nothing. I often see a sneak tear. They often don’t want to say anything. If it is a team coaching, they know they are safe to say anything so they will tell me they’ve not even a one. These people get that real eureka moment that you can’t change the world if you don’t exist.

For one manager they realised their door was always open, they were well respected and much loved, but they often worked until 10pm, then often found themselves doing everything at home and feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. After this quick exercise we put some strategies in place and they rarely finish work after 6pm, they receive a lot higher respect at work and at home and their 17-year-old now volunteers to tidy the kitchen and cook dinner! So where are you on the importance list?
Monitor it and don’t accept anything less than a seven!

Struggling?

Message me and I will let you know whether to start with my mastermind group, confidence course, or something else. And as always if you would like me to write something especially for you, just say.

  • April 11, 2022

The biggest issue to your success and a strategy to fix it.

Of all the obstacles to happiness, resilience and the things you want in life, the biggest obstacle I’ve seen is the same for every single human.

Here is my very quick strategy to get you started on eradicating this obstacle FOREVER – yes cap locks are on and I’m shouting this because if you don’t fix this you are agreeing to this standing in your way FORVER – I hope I’ve made my point, like I’m some omnipresent god shouting from beyond the clouds….

1.        To get rid of the subconscious hidden obstacles to what you want (or don’t want in life) you’ve first got to find the obstacle. And in my extensive experience that is often the biggest task for our time together as coach and coachee. Don’t worry, I always find it. Using the following steps will help you assess if this is an issue for you. (Remember this step for the future, always ask yourself good quality questions to ask yourself if there is some outdated belief, thought, emotion and perception of something in your life. It is a step myself and clients revisit often to assess the quality of what’s going on in their heads.)

2.       Go find a mirror and look in it.

3.       Wave at yourself – yes, I know it feels weird. There’s a point to this, trust me. Did it make you cringe? *

4.       Say to the mirror You the following statement;

“(Insert your name here) you are not allowed to stand in my way ever again, I know you are holding on to this old belief that (insert the belief/past experience you are holding on to like it’s fact even though it’s not here) but this is not true and does not serve you well. So, from today you will remember the voice changer** and you will hold on to this new belief that (insert new belief, statement that enables you to achieve great things and overcome anything here). I still love you, but bog off with that negative crap, you’ve no place in our future!”

(Sorry if the language was offensive, you don’t need to use rude words, but for me they add gravitas and make me pay attention. If they don’t work for you don’t use them.)

Now how did that make you feel?

  • Icky?
  • Repulsed?
  • Embarrassed? (You didn’t do this strategy in front of anyone did you?)
  • Daft?

By understanding your first response to this task you can start to see what could be going on in your head that stops you from getting the results you want in life.

Fixing this also helps you be resilient in any situation; overcome any obstacle and dig deep within to get what you want in life.

* There’s your first clue – if you look in the mirror and your first thought is a negative one it gives me major clues to your attitude and beliefs about yourself. In the confidence course (1) I walk you through how to have internal confidence instead of external confidence – external confidence can get rocked and go up and down, internal does not. So, if you’ve done that course go back and do the “Why you are awesome” document – you didn’t do it justice the first time. Also see below for another strategy to fix this self-image issue.

** Most strategies I share work fast. This one takes a bit longer – usually 4 weeks. That is because you are rewriting the conversation in your head. However, this strategy works, and it works permanently. (2)

https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/get-that-voice-in-your-head-on-your-side-fast-the-4-step-exchanger-strategy/

The above can help you never let you get in the way ever again. Let me know how you get on. I am passionate a bout you and your success in life and will always be here to help make anything and everything a reality. You are welcome to email, text, message, call, send a pigeon for a chat anytime to explore how I could help you, your life and business and team.

(1) https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/rocket-profits-confidence-success/

(2) https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/get-that-voice-in-your-head-on-your-side-fast-the-4-step-exchanger-strategy/

  • March 22, 2022

The foundations to becoming a great leader – Business owner to Boss

A lot of my clients are fast growth businesses due to our time together which means the business owner needs to build a team around them to be able to increase profit and sustain growth. So the next step of our time together as we action the business growth is helping the business owner transition into a leader.

The skills to be a great boss are extensive and it’s not achieved overnight.

We take the time to understand what it takes to be a great leader, what their role is, what they bring to the organisation and the team. It’s surprising how many people find themselves as leader but have had no training on how to do the job exceptionally well.

It’s great to be able to go back to the foundations of the business and understand the boss, the organisation, the team, its’ customers and ambitions. By going through this coaching process nothing is left to chance. Every eventually is understood, change can be embraced, difficult conversations get easier and profit is more calculated and efficiently achieved.

Here are just some key things a leader needs to consider. Use this as a base point to then create a series of questions you ask yourself and your team regularly. Such as;

–              I.C.E.S – What issues could we have? What could the causes be? What are we exceptional at and what could the solutions be?

–              How often will you monitor these indictators?

Remember to dismiss no ideas and no questions – it is what we do i ncoaching to get to the real issues a company need to address to excel.

Boss

The you in the equation – you and your team need to sit down and define each aspect of the business – Boss, The organisation, The team, The Individual.

Vision, Mission, Values and Ambitions.

Clarity – Where are we heading – the business, the team, you and each individual?

Ability to see the big picture and how actions now impact on the future of your organisation.

What is your role in new business, growth and performance of the organisation?

What is your attitude to creative thinking and innovation?

Emotional Intelligence

Do you think in absolutes? Do you make assumptions? How do you monitor your mindset and its impact on your role, your management, communication, action and results?

Understanding and reducing transference so that you can empathise without being impacted upon.

Role model – what kind of role model are you? Excited, open, calm, tolerant, fun, open minded, fearless, resilient. Define how you wish to be perceived. How will you ensure this is the person people see? Who do you look at in the public eye that seems to be a great leader? What attributes do they  have? What skills? What behaviours? Actions? Believes?

How well do you step out of comfort zones?

Being aware of your hot buttons – what you are sensitive to? What triggers you personally and professionally? Time keeping, long emails, poor communication for instance. What responses do you naturally have and how to control/alter?

Transparency.

Honesty.

Empathy.

Empowering and motivational.

Appreciating what you excel at, what weaknesses you have – will you choose to outsource, employ or automate what you are weak at or gain the necessary training? Neither is wrong – it is what works for you.

Communication and boundaries

Respect

Decision maker and the confidence to say this is what we are going to do.

Great listener. Knowing when to listen and when to lead.

Confident in choice of action

Confident to say “I don’t know” and ask for ideas, support, advice.

Lead by example.

Boundaries – what are they and how are they communicated, honoured, and enforced?

Able to structure and host difficult conversations expecting a win win result that honours you, the team, the individual and organisation – accepting that sometimes it is about expressing this is the way rather than bending to the individual.

Team management and development

How do you enable your team to be resilient?

The ability to see things from the colleagues, customers point of view.

How do you enable your team to handle their time effectively, perform and meet targets/KPI’s?

Believing the best in people while being mindful of how this could impact on you, the organisation, the team and individual.

Training and development – you, the organisation, the team and the individual.

People skills. The ability to bring the best out in others, help people through personal challenges that may seem alien to you.

Structured – what is the right level of structure for you, the team, the organisation and the individual? How will you monitor this for review, risks and success?

Attitude and capability to delegate?

The organisation

Vision and mission – where are we going? Why? How?

What are our values? How do we communicate these? What impact do they have on you, the organisation, the team and the individual?

How do we plan? How do we implement the plan?

Monitoring results – how will we know we have achieved it? What parameters are we monitoring? How will we monitor risk/flaws/issues for Boss, Organisation, Team and Individuals?

Communication – what we stand for – our ideals – what our customers will always get from us.

How do we specify, communicate, and control the results of the big picture? Who is responsible for what and why?

Adversity, change and obstacles – what is our collective approach to be resilient, innovative and proactive thinking?

What is the culture of our organisation? What can new staff expect from us as a team? Organisation? You as a boss?

How will we monitor trends, risks, global change, industry change?

How do we ensure we are proactive rather than reactive?

How do we sustain and grow?

The team

How are the team organised?

Communication rules – what is our communication policy? What does it do for the organisation, individual, company and you? If you get this right, you can greatly reduce emails sent and received, gossip, hand holding and stress. You can increase natural innovative problem solving, performance, time management and profit.

Respect – how to ensure it?

Enable team to be decision makers – bring solutions and innovation confidently and if necessarily confidentially.

Enable team to be emotionally intelligent and aware of each other’s preferred style of thinking, acting, processing information and working.

Enable them to see if they make assumptions and their impact? How will they monitor their mindset and its impact on their role, communication, action and results?

Communication – knowing they are safe to communicate what they need to without judgement – this is where coaching is incredibly powerful – no one plays good cop bad cop. You do what you are good at and I coach you and your team to perform exceptionally well, learning how each person chooses to work, think, act and feel. One size does not fit all. This enables fast sustainable growth, lowered stress, better performance and time management and ultimately better profit.

Who is responsible for what actions? What is this based on? How is this monitored, improved and developed?

Team learning and development – how would they like to learn collectively?

How do we measure productivity, profitability and performance?

How do we reward excellence?

What polices enable us to communicate what is expected?

The  individual

Communication – what works for you as an individual? What works for your colleagues? How are our styles of learning and sharing information different? What risks could that open us up to? How will you overcome them?

How do we enable people to be resilient and handle stress and time sensitive projects/goals?
How do we monitor and ensure good mental and physical health?

Learning and development – self led? Mentor? Peers? External support?

How do we asses your personal and professional needs? And the implication to the team, organisation, and you?

How do we help you develop and progress?

Understanding and reducing transference so that you can empathise without being impacted upon – know how it impacts on yourself and your colleagues.

This is not the definitive guide to leadership however I hope I’ve stirred your critical thinking to think creatively about you, your team, your organisation and everyone as an individual. What questions will you ask today to enable better leadership and results?

I am more than happy to discuss your needs – feel free to email – mandie@mandieholgate or telephone (44) 079 899 35556

  • March 18, 2022

Do more or do nothing this International Women’s Day

If you intend to share an International Women’s Day post, ask yourself how will you help bridge the gap this coming year?

Despite years of raising the issue of equality, global gender gaps remain. Data published by the World Economic Forum in 2021 showed that global gender gaps remain in education, health, economics and politics. (1)

  • We still have a lack of female leaders in the world that impact on the real speed of change.
  • Women are still more likely to die from a heart attack. (2)
  • Women in business face significant barriers to funding, with research suggesting they are subject to indirect discrimination when applying for loans and access to credit. (3)

For years I was uncomfortable with the title of feminist until I sat on think tanks for the government, worked with NatWest after The Rose Review and worked with various other organisations like WEConnect and discovered the very real ways that inequality impacts on individuals, teams, organisations, productivity, profitability and communities.

The theme this year is unconscious bias.

I recently confidentially posted a picture of my very grey hair (4) (I’ve gone grey in 2 months – probably the traumatic stress making an escape after my husband being very seriously ill for 18 months) and was intrigued by people’s responses. I like the person I am whatever colour my hair, but I’ve done enough research on unconscious bias and success to know that women can be perceived differently to a man with grey hair.

One study on gender ageism and grey hair concluded “older women are alert to age-stereotyping and discrimination and the hazard of invisibility, social devaluation, and irrelevance”.

Unconscious bias exists and we can all play a part in removing it.

Did you know even the pandemic has impacted on women globally more than men?

According to the Harvard Law School forum on Corporate Governance (5) when asked they question “is the world making reasonable progress towards increasing the proportion of women on boards? The data indicates not. Women occupy just 20% of board seats globally and continue to be excluded from the highest levels of corporate leadership.”

I sat on a think tank for the government on this issue over 10 years ago. We aren’t learning. Here are 7 quick ideas that you can actively do for yourself and others to help remove unconscious bias and speed up real change this International Women’s Day, because it is good for all people and organisations.

1, We need to appreciate it’s benefits for all people – financial, risk management, communication, growth, happiness, performance, etc.

2. We need to drop the assumptions. When it comes to empowering women there are many assumptions made. And we shy away from difficult or uncomfortable conversations. Helping people create non-judgemental environments to say anything is key and I teach people how.

On a think tank for the government we were there for a whole day. Some very clever people had been paid £100,000 to create this report we were reviewing and discussing. It got to 4pm and I said “Are we not going to discuss that women have wombs?

Because if women can’t discuss the fact that women have wombs how are business leaders and governments supposed to?” The editor for the Financial Times congratulated me afterwards for pointing out the glaringly obvious and it forced us to address the fact that to empower women we must honour ourselves before we expect anyone else to.

3. Importance list. Women are the worlds natural healers, carer and compassionate souls. We want others to be happy and we do our best to nurture and care, this means we often put ourselves lower down the importance list. I teach people how to acknowledge where they put themselves and how to rise up to be as important as everyone else in their lives and the benefits there of. It’s not about you over me, its about you and me.

4. Communication. The language we use on ourselves, and others use is critically important. Learning how the way you communicate impacts on empowering is very important, then how you create the boundaries around that communication empowers women to great things in every aspect of their life. Remember this is not just about equality, it benefits every aspect of life.

5. Power – no one can take your power – unless you let them. I’ve coached thousands on how to be motivated, empowered and achieve anything regardless of what diversity or obstacles they face. You may not be able to remove yourself from a situation physically, but you can do plenty to protect your mind, and that will lead you to great things – regardless. When it comes to equality understanding how we use this on ourselves and others can have a massive positive impact on teams and organisations.

6. Be careful what you share – Every “fact” I share I appreciate another research paper or report will come along and add or change the story or research. I work hard to ensure that what I share is checked and doubled checked. I often see people share inaccurate half truths both online and in meetings. If we want true equality for all we need to ensure we are wise on what we share and why.

7. Confidence. Build confidence – research says a man is more likely to exaggerate how amazing he is and a woman is more likely to dismiss her skills, traits and abilities. According to The Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurs, only 39% of women are confident in their capabilities to start a business compared to 55% of men. I first hand see the damage that a lack of confidence does to an individual, the team and a business and it’s not going to take years to remedy. Remember Internal confidence is very different to external confidence and I teach something called the 4 step voice changer and the “Why I’m awesome” Document. 2 strategies that help women build confidence very fast.

These are just a few ideas to work on for yourself and those that you work with. Together we can do more than lip service. So, this International Women’s Day, do more. Or don’t post at all.

1 https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/international-womens-day-2022-gender-gaps-across-the-world/

2 https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/time-women-die-from-heart-attacks-more-often-than-men-heres-why–and-what-doctors-are-doing-about-it/

3 https://moneynext.tv/the-gender-gap-examining-the-disparity-in-womens-access-to-funding/

(4) https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10225586401662524&set=a.4078553237828

(5) https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2022/03/05/women-in-the-boardroom-2022-update/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08952841.2021.1899744?journalCode=wjwa20
  • March 8, 2022

10 steps to winning difficult conversations — the ones you really don’t’ want to have!

Whether it’s confronting your boss, a member of staff, your Mum, your child’s teacher or the plumber who promised to finish the shower 2 weeks ago, difficult conversations aren’t easy.

I’ve coached thousands to have those icky conversations that you put off. Here’s your quick guide on how to have those tough conversations, get the result you want and ensure both parties leave happy.

1. Assume good.

When you think about the conversation you don’t want to have, you are assuming there is going to be swearing, doors slammed, bad words, tears, smashed plates and someone hating you for eternity. The fact is that this rarely happens, but your brain is in charge, and you have let it run crazy wild like a 5 year old on too much candy.

Stop and think about what you want to see happen. I am going to teach you how to have win win conversations and relationships — even with the passive aggressive pain that knows how to provoke you.

2. Plan your outcome.

What do you want to see happen and don’t be unrealistic here. Ideally you want every conversation to end with a win win conversation building a win win relationship (I learnt about those from Bob Burg — check him out, great guy.) You don’t want to see them burn in the fiery pits of hell for all time — that level of negative emotion won’t do you any favours. What would be the end result you want?

3. Match — but not like your weird.

I teach a lot of people about how to communicate powerfully, whether it’s closing a deal, a networking event or getting a teacher to listen to your concerns about your child. And one way to get some on your side is to match them. Consider;

How fast do they speak?

Do they use one level or vary it?

How loud are they?

Do they pause?

Are they sat forward or back (Yes this still applies on Zoom and understanding this gives you an edge in online communication!)

Do they sit still or are they all jazz hands and big body movements?

What style of words do they like? Do they say things like “I see what you are saying” or “I hear you” or “I feel you aren’t listening to me.”

You can use this information to build rapport but a word of caution, over do this and you can look very creepy, and that other person is backing out of the room like you’re a psychopath.

Done gently you can make people feel listened to. Using phrases like “I hear where you are coming from” when they’ve used auditory language is a subtle way of connecting. People that are very good at communication naturally do this and you can learn to do it well too. Not sure on this one? Comment on my mastermind group and I will guide you.

4. Sacrifice.

To do well in difficult conversations know where your boundaries lie. What would you accept at the minimum? What would push you too far and make you walk away? Know in advance where you will give a little.

5. Internal confidence.

Note the word internal. There is a big difference between internal confidence and external confidence. One doesn’t’ alter on a good day or a bad, and the other does. If you build your inner confidence you can deal with difficult conversations a lot easier. I’ve so many strategies to do this, start with the why I’m Awesome Doc — write down on an A4 piece of paper on both sides, why you are awesome. Often there is a gap between what you believe to be true and the facts. This document helps bridge that gap. So don’t hide the finished document away!

6. But Mandie, what are they thinking!

You’ve got to worry less about what others are thinking. I know that’s easier said than done and I spent my life dealing with corporate team’s internal dialogue and business owners fears about what people might think of them. If it really worries you — ask them. Stop assuming and ask. But by building your internal confidence you can handle anything that people are thinking, because let’s be honest there are billions of people on this planet — you aren’t going to get on with them all.

7. State the facts.

To do this you need to know them in advance. Take out the emotions and word the facts before the session. Fact — You said X would happen and it has not. Fact “We agreed on X and not Y.” It’s not easy taking the emotion out of it so know your facts in advance.

8. Ditch the why

Coaching style questions are genius for getting people to do what you want them to do. They take away judgement and opinion and enable honest dialogue. For instance ditch any conversation that starts with “Why” and swap it to “What are the reasons this has……” this enables people to speak without believing you’re judging them — even if you are! I’ve got tons of awesome questions you can ask. Head to my website to learn some crackers or message me. But pre difficult meeting play out some questions to ask and some phrases to ditch.

9.Next!

Before you meet, what do you want to see happen next. It is one thing to know the outcome you want but what will be the steps to get you there? What would you like that to look like? Laying this out in black and white means there can be no “Oh I didn’t think you meant that” Passive aggressive types and those that aren’t going to listen no matter how compelling your argument will be good at moving the goal posts, so be crystal clear on what they are. Make sure they are put in writing if necessary and don’t be frightened to set a date to revisit the difficult conversation. You can do this now. Difficult conversations aren’t going to hold you back, are they? And lastly…

10.Stop talking

A big mistake people make in negotiations and in difficult conversation is they keep talking. Stop talking. State what you want to say, make them feel heard (repeat back what they’ve said to help them feel heard using the matching language) tell them where the boundaries lie and what you want to see happen next and then stop talking. This is powerful because people hate silence. When I get people to stand on a stage and say a sentence and then be quiet for 2 seconds, they rarely manage it, because seconds seem to take hours! So, if you stop talking, they will start. If you have stated your position, said what you want to see happen next, now let them talk. There may be an awkward silence but if you can become comfortable with awkward silence like a 1970’s library you will win. If it helps you can count the seconds — how long will you wait?

As always let me know how you get on, feel free to like this post and share it and ensure you are following me for the next one.

Got something you need help with?
Email me or connect on social media and I will write something especially for you — no one will know that.

  • February 5, 2022

5 reasons why people don’t do as you ask— and the strategies to fix it

Whether it’s a member of staff that is always late with a report, a toddler that is over attached to the word No or your partner who never listens to you. It can be frustrating, demoralising and make you question your skills as a leader, parent or human when you’re saying words, and no one is doing as you’ve asked. So, if you’re faced with someone that just won’t listen and do as you ask, here’s 6 reasons why and what you can do about it.

1. Perspective.

A big reason people don’t do as you ask them to, is because your perception of importance does not match up to theirs. For instance, to you it’s essential that someone from your company is out there bringing in new business, your staff on the other hand see it as a waste of time impacting on their to do list. Helping people to adjust their perception so they see the value in the actions you are asking to be completed will make them compliant with little effort from you.

Helping them to see the personal benefits to them shifts their attitude to the task and lowers their resistance to it too. With the networking example they can see that new business means more profit and more profit means more money for your team. “Hang on, I’m getting the money? Well, that’s different!”

It’s far easier to get people to see the benefits for themselves than to attempt to convince them your way is right; do you want to know why?

2. Ego.

It can feel disrespectful when someone doesn’t do as we ask them to can’t it? Do they not love me? Do they not value their job? Do they not care? Taking it personally brings your emotions and feelings into it and that will make it harder for you to bring a sense of calm clarity to the situation.

Take your ego out of the equation and consider theirs. What is that person feeling? What might they be thinking? (See below for more on this). Ego can get in the way and force us to respond in a less than brilliant way (see the next strategy for more on this). Consider if the relationship could be damage as a result of your desire to make this person do this task? Is your ego and how you feel more important than the end result?

If it’s imperative to use reframing to help them see what you see. It means they don’t have to back down on what they value and can honour you too. Enable them to step back and understand the situation for themselves. For example, “If you don’t get out there and network and “Schmooze” (as one member of staff put it) then we won’t have any clients and you won’t have any billable hours”. If chatting to people is now worth a lot of money, (even a bonus) suddenly it looks more appealing, doesn’t it?

3. They can’t help it!

Have you seen Finding Nemo when they shout, “Don’t touch the butt” and poor Nemo ends up in a lot of trouble because he touched the butt. (Actually, it’s a boat, but those fish didn’t hear the correct pronunciation!) A whole films worth of grief, scary moments and near-death experiences.

When people don’t do as you wish, they are having a psychological response that says, “I’m in charge here not you”. We want to at a very fundamental level be in charge of ourselves. It keeps us safe, otherwise someone could tell you to jump in the road and you would — we need to be able to decide for ourselves what’s important and what needs to happen. If you want to see this one in action, check out the click bait titles on social media — You will never believe this……well I’ll be the judge of that……ha got you!

And as William Wallace in The Highlander shouted before battle “You will never take our freedom!” So don’t threaten their autonomy and they are far more likely to respond appropriately. It’s a fast way to gain respect, without asking for it.

Primarily us humans like to get our own way, but we also like to feel safe. Put those two things together and you have “You aren’t the boss of me!” (Even if you are!) As I tell clients, Newton had it right “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

As an example, my client manages a very large team and was incredibly frustrated by a couple of members of staff that always had excuses why things weren’t done. This approach not only got them on side it worked on their 17-year-old son who found a new interest in loading the dishwasher!

Look to show you appreciate their view, feelings, emotions, etc so that they feel listened to. Utilising NLP skills can work here (called mirroring) just be cautious about getting this wrong because it can look weird and trite

Ensure you ask coaching style questions for this one, so ditch the “Why didn’t you do this!” for “What could be the reasons that this has not happened?” It’s non judgemental and it will help you with the next strategy.

4. Assumptions.

Just because you’re brilliant at time management do not assume those around you are too. A study at Carnegie Mellon University’s human computer interaction lab had 100+ students sit a test. Half were asked to turn their phones off and the other half had their phones on and received intermittent messages. Those students who had their phones on performed on average 20% worse!

Okay things like this seem obvious but what are their time management skills like?
It’s amazing how many people have things on their to do list that aren’t’ that important that they will do over sacrificing things that actually need doing — I will explain why in the next top tip.

So don’t assume they know what you want them to do and why. Have you explained it?

Have you said it clearly? You may think you said one thing and they heard another — “It would be good to have that report by Friday” is to you I want that report by Friday they heard “Get it done when you can, Friday is good but not essential.”

A big reason people don’t manage their staff (children, etc) effectively is because of communication and boundary issues. I often hear “Well it’s obvious, isn’t it?” Is it?

5. Fear.

Three fears play out here. The most important one is the fear of what people will think of you. Next comes “Well what if I get this wrong? And lastly comes “Actually I don’t think I know how to do this!” (If you’ve read my book Fight the fear, you will know these 3 fears in detail.)

When someone doesn’t do as they’ve asked to repeatedly there has to be a reason. Once you’ve ditched the assumptions and see it from their point of view, using clear communication, make the environment safe for them to say anything.

In this situation in team coaching, I often hear some eye-opening things. The best one was the team of 25 who were working with me for a week on business growth, team building and performance, they wanted to rewrite their vision and create goals that everyone had helped create. Awesome right? Except halfway through the second day one team member finally plucked up the courage to say, “Look I know we do something to do with logistics, but I don’t’ really know what.” That person had been with the company for 12 years! But they lacked confidence or the communication skills to speak up so had been struggling for years. This is often the case, so don’t assume people know how to do what you’ve asked. Ask them, guide them, empower them, train them, coach them.

R and R

And lastly if you get stuck or aren’t sure of the best approach, try something and ensure you have a date to come back and R and R — reflect and review.

Is it working?

What needs to change?

What do I/They need to do differently?

How can I assist? Etc, etc.

The great news is that if it’s in a workplace setting and you’ve coached them to do as you expect of them and then they don’t you’ve a documented journey of what you have done to help them.

It’s amazing how many business owners do not appreciate that by working with a coach, they can then take that knowledge to HR or an employment lawyer and ensure they get the result they actually want. Alas this is not something you can do with your children or partner!

If you loved this article and benefited, please do share it, ensure you follow me on medium and social media. All links are on my site and get in touch anytime so I can write something specifically for you. This article was written for two new clients who I start work with in 2 weeks. This is to get them up and running, I hope it helps you too.

  • February 5, 2022

7 reasons why your business is failing and how to fix it

Owning your own business is awesome when it works, but it can also be frustrating when you don’t get the results you want. I’ve helped over 10,000 people to grow businesses. Often with no budget or time, often quadrupling profits in a short amount of time, so let’s look at 7 reasons why your business is failing and how to fix it

1. Relying on social.

Social media should be part of your marketing strategy, not it’s entirety. Imagine Facebook disappeared tomorrow, what would you do? I often find business owners pouring tons of time (and money) into social media but without altering the next 6 fails they will fail to make it work. Social media is reliant on you doing something — either physically adding content and/or spending money. Consider blogging works 24/7 and is evergreen marketing — i.e., it works when you aren’t.

This graphic is not the prettiest, but it sums up how you need to think about marketing — what 8 to 10 tools will you use?

M

2. Not really knowing your audience and why they buy from you

When you start a business it’s great when people are buying, but if you don’t know the science behind why people buy you are missing out on the opportunity to get people buying often with little input from you. All of my clients can tell you where they met their clients, what issues their clients have, where they like to shop, even what TV shows they like and what car they are likely to drive. Knowing this information is essential. When I teach people how to blog or communicate to sell, I teach them how to find the power words and the power sentences. These are the powerful hooks that make people want to learn more.

3. Not keeping an eye on the competition, trends, consumers.

If you can’t tell me what your competition are charging, what they are selling and how they are getting to their customers, you are missing a trick. If you can’t tell me whether your customers are using Tik Tok or Facebook, real books or electronic, you are missing a trick. Trends change. In marketing the humble leaflet went through years of neglect. Now it’s back with a vengeance as we tire of looking at screens and want something tangible. Our needs change all the time. You don’t need to obsess about the competition, but you do need to know what they are doing and how it could impact on you and your customers. Remember competition is also an opportunity for collaboration.

4. Not knowing your numbers.

If you want to grow, you first need to know where you are. How many followers on social media? How much interaction? How many visits to your website? How many sales? What were they buying? I can help a company increase profit just by looking at the numbers and working out what to sell, what to promote and what to increase in price. It’s scary increasing prices, so the next fail is essential to learn from.

5. Not asking for help.

When I set up my own business in the 2008 recession, I made the mistake of trusting everyone I met. That was ridiculous, it led me to spending money on things I couldn’t afford and weren’t essential to getting a business off the ground. I learnt the hard way, so you don’t have to. Don’t assume that someone on social media with an ability to use Canva to make pretty posts is going to be good for business. Last year I saw new clients who had gone elsewhere before working with me who had collectively wasted over £150,000!

Ask for proof that person / business can help so you don’t go it alone. It will be so much harder I promise you. I’ve a mastermind group you can join for £10. Why is it so cheap? Because I live by my tagline “As passionate about your success as you are”. Look for people like me and ask for proof. You want to actually speak to happy customers, so you know your profits are being invested in the right places. It will be essential to have the right help to ensure you don’t fall for the next fail.

6. Not being consistent.

In business I tell clients that if they want to grow their business, they need to find 25% of their time to do it in. You have to be consistent in anything you want to get results in. But don’t fight who you are. If you don’t like structured goals, then keep it fluid with a basic structure that is allowed to be deviated from.

If you need structure, then check your diary and schedule time to get it done. Do you need a whole day a week? A half day? Or will you get bored? In which case make it 30-minute chunks. Be consistent in your marketing, your customer care, your networking, your growth and your attention to your health too. This is another reason why working with a coach is so powerful because we not only help you write the plan and its actions, but we also make sure you take action and get the results you said you would!

7. Not following up

And lastly of all the fails in business, not following upis a crime against your success. Many of my business owner clients make more money just from following up. Before you go looking for new business, you will be amazed how much you can do with your existing client base. Get in touch with past customers, ask them to recommend you and/or leave a review. Google My business is a neglected tool to business growth — you don’t need a million reviews to benefit from local targeted traffic.

It does involve confidence to do effective follow up but then a successful business will always need confidence, so always make sure that’s on your side.

Did you love this article and it’s given you some ideas to try? Head over to my confidential mastermind group and I will guide you through making them work.

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  • February 5, 2022

QUICK FIX FOR MELT DOWN MOMENTS

As a coach I’ve seen a lot of trends in people’s needs over the years. As you can imagine thanks to the pandemic it’s been increasingly around supporting teams and businesses around agility, performance and productivity but fast on their heels are overwhelm, overloaded and overworked – or as I call it The 3 O’s. Burn out is no laughing matter costing business billions every year.

Mental health costs UK employers up to £45bn a year and this figure has risen 16% since 2016, costing an extra £6bn a year. This is made up of absence costs of around £7bn, presenteeism costs ranging from about £27bn to £29bn and turnover costs of around £9bn.

Accountancy Daily

I share lots of strategies to overcome these issues and my clients see results fast, but if you are in the midst of a very tough time and are ready to scream, kick the cat (please don’t kick your cat) drink the wine, eat the chocolate, swear and quit your job for a new life on a desert island here’s my strategy to help you stack up the support you need.

The acronym should help you remember it;

Stop and step away

Reading this blog article instead of finishing that report that's due in tonight!Looking at your to do list and wanting to explode with the stress?

To do this you need to start noticing what is going on.

  • Are you aware that you are mindlessly scrolling through social media?
  • Making your 10th cup of tea?
  • Reading this blog article instead of finishing that report that’s due in tonight!
  • Looking at your to do list and wanting to explode with the stress?

There is a wealth of evidence that suggest powering on through is not the answer. No matter how looming your deadline, step away. If you can’t face stepping away physically step away emotionally. Look away from your computer screen/desk. But please stop right now!

Take a breath

Ideally take three. Nice deep ones. And then notice what you feel? Pain in your neck? Achy shoulders?

I often think that people experience pain in their body that matches up to their words. It may sound bonkers but sometimes when I’m with a client I can feel their pain (even if they’ve not said anything – it can feel like chains around my chest – which then release when we work out what they need to do. It can feel like a clenched jaw – when I told a client I felt like they were clenching their jaw, I added “Can I ask do you feel like you’ve not said something you want to say to someone and it’s going over and over in your head?” They said “Yes, how did you know!” it was a huge eureka moment.). Have you noticed how people say “It was gutting” they usually have stomach issues too!

Look to notice (not do anything about) how your body feels, what emotions are running through your mind, what thoughts are whizzing around? This is a form of mediation. As I tell my clients you don’t need to sit cross legged on the mountains of Nepal saying “Om” to benefit from mindfulness and mediation. These tools enable your brain to get a moments peace to process everything that has been going on – it’s why stepping away even for 5 minutes is so good for you.

I also tell clients that the first thing teams like the SAS do before a big operation is….stop and breathe. Not go over the equipment for the 20th time, or scope the scene, but stop and breathe – they use the box method. 8,8,8,8 – hold your breath for 8 seconds, release your breathe for 8 seconds, then hold your breath for another 8 seconds and lastly inhale for 8 seconds (when you start you may not be able to do 8 seconds) and there’s a lot of science to explain why the box breathing method works.

Assess

This means that you assess the situation. Is it as bad as you think it is?

This is called catastrophising, where you blow things out of proportion. It’s one of the reasons I can help people to perform better, reduce their stress, overwhelm, and improve their productivity in just 2 hours because we start by adjusting their perception. So, assess in 3 ways (1 is not going to be for everyone).

1. Asses if this is the worst thing you’ve ever been through?

2. Then assess if this is a perceived tragic, disastrous, appalling, epic failure – or are your emotions and feelings giving you different ideas to what the facts are telling you? For instance, I had a client who felt like they were failing on a massive level.

They weren’t. They were doing amazingly well and growing an amazing company and team around them, what they were doing was assuming they would make a mistake and let someone down and thus fail – imagining something that hadn’t even happened!

3. (This is the one that’s not for everyone.) Asses who have it worse than you in the world? Think of the people who are suffering from some devastating weather related incident, facing war or persecution. Is what you experiencing worse than this?

What these three things do is enable you to move the scale of how bad the situation is. If you’ve read my books, you will know I talk about the What if game – where you imagine what if it was disastrous, what if it was amazing and what if it was beyond words bonkers. Adjust your perception before you move on to the next step.

Change the chemical

Our bodies come with a lot of cool kit but alas many don’t read the manual so miss out on using it. The chemicals in your brain don’t just spurt off whenever they fancy, they also can be turned on like a tap.

Need some happiness? Eat some cheese, tick something off your to do list, give someone a helping hand. They all help your body release dopamine. (1)

Feeling stressed and depressed? Get out in the sunshine, dark and dreary day? Reach for the complex carbs like greens or a banana or ask someone to give you a massage to help boost your serotonin levels. (2)

Need to get the endorphins going? (Not to be confused with dolphins – terrible joke, but I’ve been known to do that joke in front of large audiences – shall I apologise now?) Sex works a treat, but then so does laughter or aromatherapy oils – some of these are obviously far more appropriate for the workplace than others!

Not sleeping enough or feeling anxious? Give your oxytocin levels a boost by stroking your pet (not sure it would work with your goldfish, sorry) or practice some self-love. Although be cautious with this one, while increasing oxycontin can be good for you it can also lead to a feeling of them and us as latest research suggests it amplifies relationships. So, if you have people that aren’t seen as “in your crowd” it can make that worse. Other evidence suggests it could actually damage relationships. (3)

And the final step is K – for Kind, Kudos and Knowledge

Kind – as in be kind to yourself – do not wait for someone else to be kind to you or to notice your distress. True happiness has been proven to be an inside job so rely on you. What could you do to be kind to yourself?

Kudos – often in times of high stress people become very hard on themselves and don’t acknowledge their awesomeness. If you’ve attended one of my training days or read my books (or taking my confidence course) you will know I encourage all humans to write a “Why I’m awesome” list. This is a 2-page handwritten (very important – there’s science in my reasoning!) A4 document on why you are awesome. Some will find that easy and some will post to my mastermind group how much they hate me. That’s okay, I will help you find and appreciate your awesomeness. It’s so essential for a lot of success, performance, confidence, productivity, communication and happiness issues.

And lastly knowledge – do you have the knowledge you need to stop this extreme stress moment? Do you need to lean on someone? You know you can lean on me, right? I’m not joking. I have people from all around the world message me every week and I do my best to reply to every single one sharing advice, kindness and support. Who will give you the knowledge you need? Is it a factual thing you need or just a reminder of your awesomeness?

Don’t forget

This will take a few attempts to make it stick fast as a positive new response to high stress moments. Stick with it so that you can stack up the things that will support you when you are feeling overwhelmed and overloaded. Your brain is incredibly clever and will happily go down a new path with a little practice. I can get myself into a calm state and feel like I’m on the beach in the South of France in about half a second I’ve been doing this for so long. So stick with it!

And lastly if you need something to work even faster, try the half smile. Right now let your jaw drop slightly. Feel it slackening. Now turn just the very corners of your mouth up. How does that make you feel?

As always let me know how you get on, feel free to share and tag me, get in touch any time and if you want support to work on this post to my mastermind group where I will be happy to motivate, inspire and empower you. Learn more here.

(1) https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-dopamine-diet

(2) https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/serotonin-the-natural-mood-booster

(3) https://www.psycom.net/oxytocin

Let me know how you get on.

  • January 15, 2022

World Kindness Day – lessons for business (and life.)

World Kindness Day was invented in 1998. 23 years to appreciate the importance of kindness;

  • How it helps us break down divides and differences.
  • How it helps us to appreciate the world from someone else’s point of view.
  • How it connects and nurture us, our friends and family, our communities, our networks at work and in life and even our online worlds.
  • How it can help us be better leaders, managers and parents
  • How it can lead to better solutions for businesses and societies.

And yet according to Advance HE “Racial discrimination in higher education continues to exist. Despite the events of the past year and heightened focus on structural and institutionalised racism, we see growing tensions arising from differing cultural, ethnic and other identities, both on campus and in wider society.” * (1)

According to research by Lenovo there is a kindness gap in UK society with 82% of UK citizens placing value on living in a kind and empathic society but only 37% believe they live in a city that is like this. (2)

Further evidence that kindness is not riding high comes from the annual Report Harmful Content that says online hate speech increased by 225% last year!

Every area of our lives has seen the negative impact of a lack of kindness. As a mental health ambassador, I’ve been working with charities and organisations to raise awareness on mental health and wellbeing for 17 years and we still have the same issues that if we had a greater level of kindness in the world we could help lessen and eradicate. So what can we do about this?

This world kindness day, don’t just share a post and think “I’m doing my bit.” Up your game;

Here are 6 powerful ways you can make the next year a kinder one both personally and professionally;

1.         We all know someone that annoys us. Instead of continuing with this they annoy me, it does this to me, it has this impact on me, I then respond like this, it negatively impacts on me like this…. response. Look to understand what about this person annoys you? (If you’ve read my books or attended any sessions with me you will know strategy is from the Negative spiral.)

Understanding our own “Hot buttons” and our own way of thinking, acting and responding can help us bridge the gap between ourselves and people we don’t get on with. We won’t necessarily change them, but we will be able to change our response and see the world differently. This is great in business; enabling very different thinkers to work together powerfully to a common goal.

2. I read a great quote in a book on philosophy that asked, “what is the purpose of arguing?” I love reading bout ancient philosophers (who still have so much to teach us since us humans still have brains and minds) I learnt that an argument is an opportunity to learn, and not what most people think.

Alas what Aristotle said wasn’t so simple as, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” He actually said;

““It is right that we ask [people] to accept each of the things which are said in the same way: for it is the mark of an educated person to search for the same kind of clarity in each topic to the extent that the nature of the matter accepts it. For it is similar to expect a mathematician to speak persuasively or for an orator to furnish clear proofs!

Each person judges well what they know and is thus a good critic of those things. For each thing in specific, someone must be educated [to be a critic]; to [be a critic in general] one must be educated about everything.”

Okay so not as snappy but it teaches us a lot. If we can understand others, we can be kinder in our response. I’ve had thousands of coaching conversations with individuals and teams where this approach has led to eureka moment, so consider your response. You can’t possibly know everything so it’s a good reminder that your mind, your knowledge, your beliefs and view of the world will not match everyone’s. Accepting and honouring that can make you a kinder person and better in business and life.

3. Be real. This is not for everyone, however in a world that is becoming so polarising and causing so many divides the more honest, transparent and real you can be the better. That doesn’t mean you’ve got shout in the office “I ate the last cookie and hate Monday meetings; you all talk too much!” but it does mean that you respond to the world in a more honest way.

Bella Hadid (3) the international Instagram model with over 47 million followers shared her own very personal images of her crying and upset, talking about her own mental health. While I think this is good in some respects. It has its limitations. After posting this Bella probably has the funds to access confidential help and do what she needs to do to be mentally well and strong. Many don’t have this option and will have to battle on through because bills need to be paid and they don’t have millions of followers to say you can do it or the confidence to say what is really going on.

When I shared my frustration that a recovery company left me after being robbed in a city centre in the middle of the night for 2.5 hours most of the comments were constructive. (4) I’d aimed to highlight that to stay safe sometimes those that we trust aren’t doing what they should (I think I’ll probably move away from this organisation and not trust it to look after my children should they break down either) and I wanted to highlight this to my friends online and hopefully get the recovery agency to attend faster! I wasn’t expecting someone to accuse me of being a victim and looking for attention or being someone that fails to motivate and inspire people no matter what they face to achieve in life.

If you follow me on social media, you will know that my husband and I have faced a lot this year. As one of my mastermind groups and a lawyer put it “You’ve been through a fair bit this year.” Let’s just say so as not to bore you that if we wrote the last 18 months into an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, they’d write it out straight away for being too unrealistic!

The Most Heartbreaking Moments on Grey's Anatomy so Far

I was just incredibly unlucky to have my car singled out from a line of cars and be robbed. I wasn’t expecting an attack on social media afterwards. I asked my mastermind group if I was boring people, over sharing and not as I have aimed through out the last year to showcase, we can overcome everything. That with the right mindset no matter what we face we can be happy, lessen our stress levels and still achieve great things.

As I said to my mastermind group, it is one thing after the trauma, accident, brain tumour, tsunami, mental health breakdown, obstacle to stand on a stage and inspire others when you have the evidence to say it all worked out fine, it is quite another level of resilience, determination, strategy and mindset to deliver this in the midst of the hell.

On reflection would I share again?
Yes, because I’m honest and real. If I cock up, I will be honest and look to learn, if you create a world that says yes to you and reinforces what you believe, then how can you grow and improve?

How will you know what works and what doesn’t?

To be kind consider the part you play in the global attitude to social media.

Do you make assumptions or share in a way that inspires motivates and supports others?

There’s a big difference between moaning and honesty and I think the line can be very blurred sometimes. Step back and ask how do I wish to be represented online? What is my message? My brand? It doesn’t matter who you are – student, retired teacher, business owner, leader or speaker. What are you projecting to the world?

And if your life is all perfection online ask yourself how you are impacting on others?

4. “I’m fine” a statement made so often. When I spoke to my husband’s oncologist about support, they advised that it is very common to see that cancer patients are alone in the world. In the early months patients are inundated with support both practical and emotional, but as the time passes people fade away. It gets harder for the patient and their community to connect and be kind to one another as their worlds are so different. The offers of traybakes and trips to the hospital diminish and the “How are you really?” conversations dry up as people move on with their lives.

A big way you can be kind is to ask if you are hearing what you want to hear or what they are saying? We often hear what we want to hear so that we can continue down the path we are taking. When I was working with a business team, the leader chose to hear that everyone was fine because that was what they had been told, however the profits, the absenteeism, the lack of growth and the length of meetings and inboxes told a different story. Choosing to hear what people were really thinking (but not confident to share) meant the company, the team and every individual felt honoured. And of course, happier too.

So, what do you really hear?

5. Helping others is a proven way to support yourself and make this world a better place. According to an AmeriCorps report, people who volunteer 100+ hours a year are some of the healthiest people in the U.S.

Studies have shown that helping others can;

  • reduce loneliness and stress.
  • make you happy.
  • make you feel connected to the world.
  • help you learn new skills and new knowledge.
  • gain a greater understanding of the world.
  • build communities.
  • reduce social and racial tension.
  • boost your self esteem.
  • improve your career prospects and earning potential.
  • increase your brain function.
  • AND make the world a better place.

I often talk in leadership and team coaching sessions about how the chemicals are bodies can create can be actively produced if we do the right things. It has been viewed as fluffy and emotional when I talk in corporate settings about the softer side of being human, but there’s nothing soft or fluffy about understanding what you think can actively change your performance, happiness, health and even how much money you make!

In my talk on controlling the uncontrollable that I’ve delivered for many organisations and businesses to help them migrate to 4 days weeks and navigate through the fast paced changes our personal and professional lives have to travel through, this slide has proven a big talking point;

To view the full slide show/article click here

How are you looking to set off positive chemical responses in others?

(These are obviously just a few examples, and none are essential!) however it does highlight how it is not rocket science to find ways to be kind and leads us nicely onto…

6. You. To be kind in this world, you have to start with you. If you’ve heard me speak, you know I ask you to tell me where you fit on the Importance ladder?

  • Down at the bottom, doing everyone’ bidding feeling completely downtrodden broken and unable to cope?
  • Or just as valuable and as important as everyone else acknowledging and honouring your own needs?

This not only supports you to do more for others it also ensures you are a great role model for those around you. Despite the endless hospital appointments, calls and surgeries I can hand on heart say that I’ve prioritised my needs as much as I have anyone else’s. And this has ensured that despite every challenge and obstacle I’ve not missed a single speaking gig, coaching session or training day and my business continues to grow.

Kindness, pays, so 23 years after International Kindness Day started isn’t it time, we all considered how powerful it could be and do something about it?

If you have enjoyed this article and aim to do something about it, then I’d love to hear more. You can connect on social media, email me or even pick up the phone!

Social media links are at the stop of the homepage.

Tel +44 (0) 798 935 556

Email – mandie@mandieholgate.co.uk

(1) https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/programmes-events/events/race-equality-colloquium-2022

(2) https://news.lenovo.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/New-Realities-Empathy-And-Technology-Report.pdf

(3) https://www.instagram.com/bellahadid

(4) shorturl.at/moIY4

  • November 13, 2021
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