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!
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?
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?
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;
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?
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;
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.
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.
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);
In the work place I see this impact on;
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;
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!
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.
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.
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?
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?
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
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?
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?
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?
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
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;
To do this you need to start noticing what is going on.
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!
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.
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.
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)
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?
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.
Let me know how you get on.
World Kindness Day was invented in 1998. 23 years to appreciate the importance of kindness;
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!
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;
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;
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?
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!
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You don’t need to be presenting signs of the 3 O’s to be not working as productively as you could. Performing to an exceptional standard requires you to constantly consider what you are doing, why you are doing it, what it will give to you and what results you want to see as a result.
The pandemic has made many question “Is this the best way?”
One team I worked with were able to reduce absenteeism to 0% thanks to the strategies we put into place. They started to see an improvement after our first 3 hour session. The knock on long term effect was that many team members said they felt far more in control of their role and like their voice was heard.
The management team said that they found their teams came to them with ideas and solutions, rather than problems and concerns. It made performance so much better and didn’t take a lot of work, because we concentrated on the individual and their needs and how that was to work along side the organisational needs and results. When you understand how you think, you can understand how you act and the results you get.
Improve the quality of your thoughts and emotions and you improve your actions and results – it sounds simple but it takes a bit more than that to understand the science of the way you think and it’s implications for you, your team and your business.
Whatever your budget I’ve a way of supporting you and your team to work smarter.
If you are considering the 4 day week, just adjusting what hours your team work is not going to be enough.
This is an opportunity to really consider your mission, your values, your culture, your outcomes and the way you want your team to feel every day that they work for you.
Increasingly in the UK the cost of rehiring is around £11,000 per member of staff so this is not just about happy teams and the implications of this on your organisations success, it’s also about profit.
This is a brief slideshow of the key strategies I utilise with teams around burnout, performance, productivity and the 3 O’s.
Every training session, speaking engagement and coaching session is tailor made to you and your team and what you are working on. This ensures results fast.
The cost to business is around £5 billion with 43% of all sick days in the UK alone due to burnout.
In business it is likely to cause;
Here are 10 strategies to fight overwhelm, overload and overworking for you and your team. They are all taken from my unique style of coaching that can deliver results for teams within 3 hours. I’m happy to talk you through these strategies and share more – get in touch here.
1. Create a communications policy for your company
I’ve created over 40 communication policies this year for teams and each has been unique. They have included things like “No email to be sent after 1pm on a Friday” this stops the “get it off of my desk mentality” and improves communication and team relationships. Or having an agreed green, red, orange system for subject line – green – for your information no need to reply, orange – you may need to be involved, please review and reply as necessary, red – urgent please respond within 4 hours. Agree on a policy and then communicate it, ensuring you reflect and review 6 weeks later to see what is working and what needs to change. You will be surprised how many in your team do not know when it’s okay to walk into your office or to phone you because the conversation has never happened and they are worried they will be in your way, disturb you, ask something stupid or look like they can’t do their job. Fact.
2. Negative to positive.
It’s a lot harder to make improvements when you don’t know what is causing the issue. If you’ve read my book Fight the fear or Taking control of your mind you are not new to the negative spiral strategy. Everything you achieve (or not) is as a result of your feelings, emotions, actions and results. If you think of the negative spiral as the M25 (for my international readers this is a UK ring road around London; notorious for being congested, jammed and slowing down journeys. It can take you 2 hours to get to your destination or 5 hours!) Now imagine that ring road with no exits. The negative spiral is just that, a way of being trapped in a continual loop of negative feelings, emotions, actions and results. When you know the negative you can do something about it.
If you look at this short version you can see that one feeds the other. You don’t need to go in order of feeling, emotion, action and result. It could be in any order. What do you notice?
You can now look to create breaks between each bubble. When I do this with clients we see how bad the negative spiral can get, imagine what a positive version could look like and then come up with lots of ideas on what could break the pattern between each bubble. This is quite a complex strategy to do justice to so get in touch if you’d like more guidance (or re – read Fight the fear and/or taking control of your mind for reminders on how they work.)
3. It is what it is
This is a statement I’ve heard in practically every corporate team coaching session. Every single one. What’s wrong with that you ask?
Well if you believe that it is what it is then you aren’t looking for solutions or ways of making things better for you, your team or your business. It is a victim mentality that holds teams stuck in poor working practices, overloading communication practices and damaging ways to work. Challenge everything at work that this statement is levied at. What other statements are made that take away any opportunity to improve things?
And in every session I’ve heard this statement, by coaching the team through what they believe is possible we’ve helped them make better choices.
This tiny word gained a whole chapter in Fight the fear, because so many of us fear using it. The irony is that people that are good at saying no, rarely have to use the word.
If you understand what inspires your instant yes’s you are able to work out what it does to you and your own list of jobs (remember the negative spiral from above?) and how to create a better way of communicating. When we’ve explored this word and it’s power in teams, I often see that the team are worrying about letting each other down. Causing everyone to over deliver and say yes that creates a culture of working that is unsustainable and damaging to all, so speaking up could literally save others too!
5. Listen to your body
I still hear people proudly exclaim that they got up at 5am, not had lunch and are powering through. After all we know about burnout and stress this is astonishing. If you won’t look after your body because you literally can’t survive without one consider looking after your body because it will work better and perform better if you do.
According to the HR Booth(2), dehydration alone can cause your employees to struggle with concentration, productivity and happiness.
It doesn’t take a genius to suss that if you don’t eat well then your body can’t perform well. This has many implications on burnout.
6. Really listen to your body
We’ve become attached to our computers thanks to the pandemic and as a result we aren’t moving as much as we used to. There is growing evidence to suggest that even a short walk can benefit your mental dexterity.
And just 10 minutes in nature can make you feel more emotionally strong and less stressed. Taking a break actually makes you think better and faster, it can even change your perception of time (see below).
I encourage clients to work on a task for 40 minutes then take a short break. It’s amazingly effective for problem solving and the ability to work for longer. As you step away while you think you aren’t working on the task you need to complete, your subconscious is processing everything you were doing and carries on doing this, so that when you return “magically” you’ve got new ideas to use.
7. Ditch or deal
When it comes to To do lists I often find these are the root of a lot of productivity issues and problems that exasperate burnout. A To do list with more than 5 things on is not likely to be achieved in a day. My clients only ever get a maximum of 5 actions towards any goal. Why? Because too many jobs on there and it becomes overwhelming. They then have back burner ideas – things they can work on after they’ve completed the first 5 tasks, this ensures they stay focused, stay motivated and achieve more.
If you’ve things on your to do list that have been there over a week, make the decision to ditch it or deal with it. Prioritise it. Heard the saying “kiss the frog”? My clients learn that the frog becomes a big warty, slimy toad getting bigger and bigger if they don’t get on with it. Deal or ditch.
One of the reasons we end up feeling overworked, overloaded and overwhelmed is because we don’t have the control we would like to have. It’s one of the reasons I can help a team work less hours and get more done with less stress in 3 hours because it’s about how we personally see the world.
I recently wrote about our perception of time. How time can speed up if we are feeling happy and slow down if we are frightened. If we are in awe it can make time seem a lot slower and when we are “on flow” as us coach’s like to say, time flies. By understanding how you see the world you can appreciate what impacts on that. As a coach my job is to help you understand what you believe to be true, what you feel matters, what experiences have shaped your view of the world and what values are important to you. Your experiences, beliefs and values greatly impact on your ability to stop burn out. Learn to recognise what beliefs, values and experiences are motivating and empower you and which ones are damaging.
Lastly what will you sacrifice? To be more resilient and cope better no matter what you face at work means you have to know what you are prepared to sacrifice. For instance;
If you stay late at work you know you are sacrificing quality down time to return to work fully charged the next day.
If you agree to work through your lunch break you are agreeing to an energy slump mid afternoon and the implications that could have on your performance and productivity.
If you sacrifice checking your email you know you will finish that report.
When I look at people’s to do lists we often discover things that are “should’s.” For instance “I should really look at that report they wrote.” Tasks like this that you don’t deal with, you’ve got to ask “For what reason do I not sacrifice something else to achieve this?”
Ideally think in emotions and feelings as well as the physical implications, because ultimately they drive you forward or force procrastination. So if you are harbouring feelings of “It’s so boring, they waffle on and I don’t understand half of it.” Then what are you going to decide to do?
Which ever you decide it’s a sacrifice for something you do over something you don’t want to do. Adjust your perception of the tasks and your actions and you will work out the right things to sacrifice so that you aren’t overloaded trying to people please and look like you know everything.
Time is a wonderful commodity that we forget we can manipulate, as we’ve already touched upon. With the new ways of working hybrid between office and home it can be all too easy to lump your commute time into your working day. Every team I’ve worked with that were doing this told me it was so they worked less evenings and weekends. This doesn’t work, because they weren’t proactively choosing their use of time.
Take a few minutes to sit down and work out what your ideal week would look like. Have you ever considered that you may not have to do 9 to 5 at all? Often it’s assumed what the management expect from their teams. I’ve heard so many in coaching sessions say “Well, I can hardly work at 6am and then stop for a few hours just to do the school run can I?” Only to hear the boss say “Actually, why can’t you? As long as I can get hold of you at some point in the day, I don’t care what hours you work, as long as you are looking after yourself and doing your job well.”
This requires open and honest conversations, and while most leaders think they do this every week, rarely do I see this happening. A few books on personal development, leadership and coaching does not make you a coach. And often there’s a risk of trying to establish this kind of relationship without having the knowledge on how to fulfil it.
I’ve hundreds of strategies to enable your team to feel resilient and work more productively thus reducing stress and improving performance. Please do feel free to get in touch. We often hear work smarter not harder, but still so many are failing to grasp how.
In a time before elections, Brexit and pandemics we still had a global issue impacting on the world’s economy; Stress.
A WHO led study estimated that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. (1) Stress can be caused when we feel like we are losing control, so when you face something so big it’s completely out of your control what can you do about it?
I’m going to share how to control the uncontrollable. A great example would be company A who in the first lock down reduced their absenteeism for their team of 250+ to zero and they said it was “In no small part down to our coaching with you.” I don’t share this so you think I’m awesome I share to prove the uncontrollable can be controlled.
When people feel like they can’t control a situation it can lead to stress, guilt, anxiety and many other negative emotions, put that in the working environment, and I’ve seen it cause;
Working from home has featured in many coaching sessions this year often with clients stating there’s “Nothing I can do about this” or (my pet hate) “It is the way it is.” When I hear this statement, I know that this is not the case and that it’s the root cause of why the organisation is experiencing issues or not growing as they’d like.
So, the first thing you need to do is challenge what you believe to be true. Statements like;
These are signs that you need to challenge what’s believed to be true. You don’t try and stop the sun rising? Why, because you know it to be out of your control. Do you try and get out of the way of a stampeding bull? Why, because you believe you have control.
These are 2 obvious examples however at work they are more subtle and they are the statements that no one pays attention to. So, learn to!
When you find the hidden beliefs in your organisation your brain will instantly come to your aid with solutions, the tragedy is that these are rarely the right ones. When coaching a team at this stage it is only on page 2 or even page 3 of a flip chart will we discover the really powerful solutions. The reason?
So when you say 1 plus 1, it’s already proudly given you the answer. This stops you from finding new more productive ways of working since your brain wants to keep you safe – believing you’ve done all you can and there’s nothing that can be done.
It gets some raised eyebrows when I get people to think with a magic wand. “If you could do anything to fix this, regardless of cost, time, skill what would you do? If bringing Elvis back from the dead would help, we’ve got magic so what would you do?”
This gets people laughing (Or embarrassed for me – that’s all good – challenging your beliefs is tough) and more relaxed so it’s easier to deal with challenges at work when you don’t feel responsible for them. If you are going to use this tool, ensure you ask follow up questions like;
This is where the powerful ideas are!
In a company you’ll have those that are predominantly interested in the end result, those that are interested that it delivers to your customers what was promised and those that want to ensure it comes on budget.
Trying to get them to think differently won’t work and can cause a lot of stress as different departments feel they have no control over the outcome.
Enabling everyone to appreciate their different views and priorities and how they come to together for the result helps reduce stress, which leads us on to a massive issue when we feel we lack control..
By now you can see that control is not always about control but your perception of it. When you bring everyone together to a common goal that they feel invested in it can be hard to not end up with email mountains. I’ve never seen a team I couldn’t reduce their workload for. Time management improves and staff get happier when they don’t feel like they are constantly chasing their tail to do everything for everyone.
As a company create communication rules. (Go back to the crazy magic wand idea to achieve this.) They can include;
These aren’t comfortable conversations, but they help restore a sense of control. If…
Are enforced. Enforced sounds like a harsh word however to restore a sense of control in any environment if everyone creates the rules, everyone lives by them.
If after a few weeks you discover the rules aren’t working for you, don’t be frightened to go through the process again and see what’s working and what needs to alter.
A team of researchers from the University of Illinois studied occupational stress and employee well-being, those who have greater “boundary control” over their work and personal lives were better at creating a stress buffer that helped protect them from falling into a negative-rumination trap. (2) and research also teaches us that those that feel like they are respected, and part of the process are usually 90% more committed to a positive result, so it’s a process worth investing in.
And lastly, we all know that trying to have complete control is a cause of stress, therefore by lowering that need for control you can become more in control – ironic right?
Check out Polarity management by Barry Johnson PHD (3), his theory on managing uncontrollable situations has featured in more than a few coaching sessions. he teaches you a more powerful way to see the uncontrollable, instead of trying to control it, work on balancing it and says “those that develop the ability to distinguish between solvable problems and unsolvable polarities and have the ability to respond effectively to each will outperform those who can’t distinguish between them and who try to address all issues from a problem solving perspective.”
The good news for you and your team is that no matter what the future may throw at you and let’s be honest after this year it could be anything, with these skills you are ready for anything, resilient with an adaptive mindset ready to embrace the uncontrollable.
This is such an important subject I will be bringing you future ideas around this to support you and your team. If you would like personalised solutions, do get in touch. My coaching is very unique and gets exceptional results. Working with you and your team will be an honour.
Here I’m honest and tell you what happened, and how I monitor and fixed my own dip in confidence. I tell clients and Insiders all the time, before you work on your ambitions and plans, always assess your confidence levels – it will have a massive impact on your results.
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. (I discovered I was one of their top speakers and so they’d put me between one of the most expensive speakers on the planet and Zeus Frazier – Zeus Frazier’s dad was one of the only people to fight and beat Muhammad Ali multiple times – so wow no pressure there then!)
And in the lead up to the big day I had meetings with the team to see if I would fit as well as they’d hoped. 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! Especially amongst such amazing talent!
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. (I can deliver to a script and make it just me talking but in my view it’s not as much fun, productive or memorable.
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. And if you are like most of my readers you will follow this with my next book Taking Control Of Your Mind where you can explore what type of person you are and how to honour that to achieve more and overcome any obstacle – buy it here.)
So I did what any good coach would do and I talked to another coach. My coach has been proverbially kicking my butt for years. In fact it’s thanks to them I’ve achieved more and I know I’ve been able to help my coach too. (I love relationships that are win win like that.)
So I messaged my coach. Something along the lines of “Hey, I’ve got the major wobbles about Saturday. I know I can do this with bells on but still….”
They 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. If you don’t fix the confidence then fear is only a step away.) So despite the fact I believed my coach and the despite the fact my coach has heard me speak on many occasion, so when they say you are an awesome speaker, then you really have to accept 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. Actually scrap that, I’m awesome at my job – we all need to learn to be able to say that don’t we? We don’t need to walk down the street shouting it but we do need to hear it on the inside and believe it.
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 do let me know.
I’ve over 100 strategies to help build confidence. Many of which feature in my confidence course (it only takes 2 days to get through that course and see improvements) you can buy that here.
Something else that helps me is my mastermind group – it’s packed with talented, skilled, successful professionals and business owners. Do join us we all share the most amazing ideas and support. Click here to learn more.
I can also request white labelled copies of Fight the fear for your company and Taking Control Of Your Mind- minimum order 100 copies.
I was sat with a client who protested “I could have 10 days in a week and I’d still not have enough time to get everything done!”
I then coached them to create a 10 day week and they were right, they had too much to do! But through their coaching session they created the below plan and now miraculously have more time, less stress and achieve more.
The 10 day week is a strategy for time management that is so powerful that I share it with many business owners, teams and leaders and it helps increase productivity and creativity and reduce stress too. (It basically helps you use your brain in a more productive way!)
You will see how this strategy can be employed to support yourself and your staff when working from home or adopting a 4 day week too. Don’t fight who you are and how you think – honour it and this will enable you do that to be more productive.
Below you can download your own version and ensure you also ask the below questions (these are some of the ones that featured in my session with my client), because often when you don’t have enough time in your day these things are the real issue;
Questions to ask yourself;
There are lot of questions you need to ask yourself, but if you aren’t achieving it is more likely to do with your perception of what is importance, your confidence and communication and prioritising what your success needs. I’m happy to have a chat to look at this in more detail.10 day plan
My online mastermind group (The Insiders) is only £10 a month and gets incredible results because I coach and mentor everyone, make them accountable to outcomes and we work together (and buy from one another) do join us!
All Insiders get 50% discount on my courses too. Learn more here.