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2020 Reflections – A year of paradox

A Reflective Space

This has certainly been a year of paradoxes. During those initial stages of hearing about the emergence of this virus, along with the other natural disasters that had occurred e.g. the Australian bush fires , the Indonesian flash floods, the volcano in the Philippians, the locusts in Asia-East-Africa-India-Middle East and the earthquakes that rocked China-India-Iran-Russia-Turkey-the Caribbean, left me feeling a little like a reprimanded child being sent to her room for an extended time out. Except, it felt like we were all being sent to our rooms by a really angry mother who was just done talking, when the virus hit.

I really likened the various levels of lockdown around the world to that.

I remember when raising my own children, I would talk and shout and yell and eventually my patience and sense of humour would fail and they would be sent to their rooms. Like all parents who has raised more than one child will attest; there is always one child who is more defiant and more stubborn and less compliant that the others. This is kind of how I have viewed what the world has experienced this 2020.

 

As with all families, big and small we have seen the varying levels of compliance and petulance [globally]. We have seen some come out of their rooms to resume life, only to fall back into miscreant behaviour and sent right back. We have seen the school yard bullies grab and  refocus  our attention for their own purposes, and we have headed the call for help from those less fortunate among us.

 

Frustration levels have inched up as fatigue sets in [doesn’t that sound a bit like the holiday season at your house]. We love our family but sometimes they leave us wondering if the same blood runs through their veins as does ours. Sometimes their thinking and attitude and behaviour gives us pause to wonder who these people are and how they can think the way they do?

 

So here we are! 2020 has rattled us all in ways we could never have imagined could happen. The foundation of our lives has been called into question and many of us have found ourselves reflecting on the things that are important to us and digging deep to find levels of resilience we were not sure existed.

 

For some of us this year has been filled with opportunity for others adversity. I think and really want to believe that either way we have all learnt lessons about ourselves and others that we would otherwise not have learnt. So, I would invite you to reflect on those lessons and not let them be in vain – we owe it to ourselves and to those who have gone before us.

As we prepare to bid farewell to this year I invite you to reflect with me on some of the lessons I have learnt and perhaps you had similar lessons.

My Reflections

We are not in charge: probably a lesson we all learn at some point in our life, and probably know intuitively, yet somehow we live our lives contrary to this. When mother nature loses her sense of humour and snarls and father time stands back and lets her – we the children of the universe need to take a minute to heed these parents.

 

None of our orientations matter when we face ourselves: Our money or lack thereof, sexuality, religion, political affiliations or any other differentiator we have come to believe separates us, means nothing when we face our own mortality. Death is the ultimate leveller, and it is a solo journey we must all travel.

 

Everything is about the perspective we have: If you were asked five years ago “where you thought you would be today” – I can guarantee you got it wrong; we all did. All our plans, hopes, dreams & aspirations for what this year would be like have all been upended. Reprioritization was the order of the day, and for some this was viewed through the lens of opportunity for a do-over and for others it was viewed through the lens of catastrophe and loss. Whichever lens you used to view the world, ultimately, some things will have changed for you and now the view you have is very different from what it was in January.

 

Gratitude keeps a positive attitude: Trials and tribulations we know are part of life. However, when our lives are thrown into disarray and we have no-one to lash out to or blame for the circumstances we find ourselves in. When those meaningless rants about whose fault it is, falls on deaf ears and we realise that no matter how many times we wag our finger at “those people” who brought this to our shores, we eventually stop and recognise that “we are were we are” and no about of ranting is going to change that. In these moments we learn that there are those who have lost so much more than we have, and still they smile and face their days with grace and gratitude – so what is our problem anyway?

 

Reflection keeps us real: For many of us, reflection is very difficult because through the humdrum of our busy lives we just never learnt how to do this in any meaningful way. No matter how you take time to reflect ,whether it is in the shower, on a run/walk, through journaling or any other space, take some undisturbed time to just think about you and your day that is either ahead of you or behind you. Reflect on the good moments and the moments of frustration. Reflect on what brought a smile to face or the contribution you made to someone less fortunate than yourself and remember how that felt. Then go and repeat that – for it is in those moments of service to humanity that we feel most alive and most valued.

 

Remember who you are: Being true to who we are and what we believe is often our greatest struggle. We get caught up in the priorities of life, work, raising a family, launching a career. Our lives hurtle by and we look at our children and wonder when they grew up. You know you were there but somehow the passing years have faded into a blur of activities. One day you stop and realise that those cuddly, sweet smelling little bundles are all grown up; and you are that many years older; and for the life of you, you cannot remember when or how it all happened.  Take time to ask those tough questions – Did I use my time wisely? What is stopping me from achieving my goals? What went well today? What did I learn today ? What did I teach today? Do I have negative emotions today – what are those and Why?

Truly think about these before you answer.

 

Learn and grow: I used to tell my students “We are always a student and sometimes a teacher” especially when they were feeling either despondent at not being able to grasp a skill I was teaching or when they were helping someone else practice a new skill. You see I have found that we should strive to learn 1 new thing everyday, no matter how random or arbitrary it may seem. Learning helps us to stretch our thinking and expand our curiosity and when we are curious we learn best. Wisdom is not reserved for the select few but rather is something we can all give ourselves by reflecting on doing things better, giving ourselves insight and learning how to be better and live more fulfilling lives.

 

Become who you needed: This was a tough one for me but incredibly valuable when I finally got it. We often spend many years agonising about relationships that did not go quite as we had hoped for. We lash out at parents or siblings or any other family members for what they did or did not do for us. We resent teachers who told us what we would or would not achieve. Then one day we realise that we are not that person anymore. We have achieved, we have the relationships we want, and the anger we harboured towards family members has dissolved, often into some form of tolerance or perhaps indifference. ON reflection we realise that we became the person we needed when we were growing up and we find we make very different decisions, which are often contrary to the ones we were raised on. Be proud of those changes because you are consciously making different decisions which serve you better. Self-awareness is a thing.

 

Leaking pipe or irrigation system: This was another incredibly illuminating moment for me. I always considered myself a fixer and proudly so. Always working from the premise that things are broken and therefore in need of fixing. Peoples’ thinking , their decision making, their capacity for progression. This was, for many years my job – to help people make informed decisions about their career and their future. I likened this to a water pipe and consistently felt as though I was fixing leaks along this pipe and I felt exhausted. I could no longer rally the emotional capacity to continue doing this. Then, one day, I was invited to consider an alternative view – I was invited to consider that perhaps this life was in fact not a water pipe that needed fixing but rather an irrigation pipe that needed to have the holes in it, to allow the water to drip/spray out. It took a minute to consider this and after a short time of consideration and recalibration I felt the relief. In that moment I realised that not all things need to be fixed and more importantly not all things that appear broken are broken.

2020 is rapidly coming to an end and as I reflect on the year that has past and share my lessons with you I wonder as I am sure you do too what 2021 holds in store for us.

I foresee a year of opportunity ahead for those who chose to see the opportunities, which for now may lie hidden. We have been given a chance to reflect and recalibrate and evaluate the things that are most important to us – our loved ones, the time we have to live, learn and serve humanity, the opportunity to be kind and generous to those who are in need of it. We have an opportunity to heal our world and repair the damage we (humans) have done to oceans, rivers, lakes, forests, air and all other areas of our environment. We have the chance to look into the mirror and realise that this world will flourish without us here, so maybe it’s time to dial back our arrogance and realise we are guests on this earth and start behaving as such.

Mother nature and Father time remain our loving universal parents BUT we have not been reprieved of our wrong doings.

What have you learnt from this year and what do you foresee the year ahead being for you?

mom & baby - working

How to reduce screen fatigue in 8 easy steps

mom  & baby - working
The truth about Working from Home

How to work from home – with breaks from the screen, exercises for the eyes and body, and tips for reducing the need for excessive online meetings.

Since COVID-19 arrived, record numbers of staff are working remotely have been inundated with web conferences, online meetings, and webinars using various online conferencing software such as Zoom, Google Meets, Google Hangouts, Facetime, Skype, Teams and many more. These excellent tools have helped us to keep in touch and adapt our ability to continue to keep large and small businesses and educational institutions operational to varying degrees during lockdown and quarantine.

For some the ability to work from home has been pure bliss and a dream come true for  others it has been  an absolute nightmare. Whichever end of the spectrum you are on, like it or loath it, the reality is that for the foreseeable future [at least] remote working is the current reality aka the new normal.

So how have you dealt with and managed with your remote working circumstance?

Have you established a routine for yourself and faced your remote working circumstances as if you were still going to the office OR have you taken a more relaxed approach?

Do you get up and get dressed and face your day the same as you would if you were going into an office or do you wonder around in your pj’s or other comfortable attire and only adorn a respectable business appropriate blouse or shirt when you know you have another online meeting to attend?

Have you created a dedicated workspace in your home or has your bed become your new office?

Have you started feeling less and less inclined to actively participate in online meetings or do you show up mindfully and purposefully because after all you still have deliverables and deadlines?

Have you begun to resent the alert that indicates you have yet another team meeting  to attend and WHY can’t they just send you an email?

Do you show up for your team meetings prepared to engage with your colleagues because even though you are working remotely you recognise the need to interact and stay connected to your team?

Have you found yourself glossing over emails and not purposefully engaging with the content and making mindful decisions based on those emails?

Is your energy levels and body language and facial expressions evident that you have lost the ability to engage and are operating on autopilot?

 

We know that too many online meetings and too many hours in front of the screen can be detrimental to our mental and physical health.

While we can not escape the seemingly endless list of online meetings and lectures, we can try to achieve a little bit of balance in our day-to-day work-life.

This article will cover: 
  • The symptoms of screen fatigue
  • Exercises for the eyes and body
  • Why online meetings are tiring and how to reduce them
The symptoms of screen fatigue

So much information is transmitted digitally, and when the brunt of your job is information processing on a screen, fatigue can certainly set in.

Screen fatigue is a medical diagnosis called asthenopia. Asthenopia occurs as a result of staring at a computer, tablet, or phone for extended periods of time. Screen fatigue has multiple symptoms including headaches, pain around the eyes, dry eye, blurry vision, tired or watery eyes, tiredness, difficulty keeping your eyes open or focused on the meeting, sensitivity to light, and even vertigo. Asthenopia has also been called digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome (CVS) and can be exacerbated by reading digital texts for extended periods, working in dim light, or excessive exposure to the kind of blue light emitted by screens. Some people even report an intense feeling of apathy and anxiety after excessive online meetings.

Like all medical conditions there are ways to minimize the effects and manage your health if you are beginning to feel the effects of CVS.

Here are a few that might just help you:

Glasses. Screen fatigue glasses are available so check with your optician or retail outlet if you think you could benefit from a pair.

Take a Break. If you were in the office you would get up and go to the bathroom or printer or have a quick chat to a colleague, perhaps even take a smoke or coffee break, go out for a quick lunch-time errand. So what is stopping you from doing the same while working from home? While you may not be able to walk over to chat to a colleague  you can still get up  and do something else for few minutes; grab a cup of coffee, maybe put on a load of laundry, perhaps a couple of quick laps of walking around the garden or up and down the driveway, maybe even do some gardening if that is your thing.

Reduce Glare. If you sit in a workspace that has constant glare from windows or lights, you may consider rearranging your workspace. If you can reduce external glare from the screen, your eyes will not have to readjust as often, while you are working. Antiglare screens are also available for this purpose.

Adjust Display. The brightness level of your computer screen can also factor into the fatigue your eyes experience. Go to the settings and find the brightness level. You can adjust it to a lower brightness, which will reduce the harsh light streaming from the screen.

Stay Hydrated. Proper water intake helps reduce eye strain, itchiness and irritation. Sometimes when we perform work that isn’t physically strenuous we easily forget the importance of drinking water. Get in the habit of keeping a bottle at your desk and refilling it as soon as it’s empty.

Exercise. Just to be clear, we want you to keep your job. We also want you to stay healthy and able to engage in this new environment, so take time each day to do some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes. Your physical and mental health is your priority.

Limit your screen time. Use the built-in features on your phone to report, monitor, and limit your screen time. Apple IOS and Android phones track which apps you use most frequently and how long you are on your screen. With those details, you can make changes to limit exposure and work more efficiently. Perhaps you are spending too long commenting and scrolling through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, which can result in more on-screen hours than desired. If your phone does not have these features, there are plenty of apps that do. These apps are typically based on the Pomodoro technique and allows you to work in 20-minute intervals while blocking all websites, pop-ups, alerts, and messages across multiple browsers and prevents certain apps from working. You can focus on one task at a time so you can finish that to-do list and have plenty of time to incorporate off-screen activities into your day.

Practice the 20-20-20 rule.Try looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. Excessive time in front of a screen that is close to your face can cause screen fatigue. If you alternate looking at something up close and far away, you can help combat it (Marcin, 2017). Looking out the window or going for a quick walk can help.

Why online meetings are tiring 

Meetings are important to connect with teams, share knowledge, and build rapport. During these unprecedented times though, meetings are also a way to keep connected with our colleagues, as we learn to navigate our way into  a new and often very different world of work. We have all at some point in our work-life wished to just be able to work from home and avoid those horrid morning commutes through endless traffic and school runs which were just endless. If we remember why we wanted to that  when we could not have it a t that time; now might be a good opportunity to revisit those wishes and call to mind those reasons which seemed so far from reality at the time. What did working from home look like to you? What did you think it would be like? What was so appealing about working from home for you and has your opinion changed at all?

There is a lot of talk lately about cognitive load and for good reason. We are in the midst of a pandemic and as managers and leaders must be aware of the trauma employees continue to experience. Anxiety is high and many  people have or are  experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder in the past few months. Others struggle with the chaos of children and spouses at home. People have more on their mind and plate than ever before, and many are at their tipping point. Requiring staff to be online with cameras turned on multiple times a day is insensitive to the situation at hand. According to Sander & Bauman (2020), online meetings increase our cognitive load. We need to work harder to process non-verbal communication when working on-line and to try to concentrate, simultaneously hoping there are no home distractions (i.e. barking dogs, noisy lawnmowers, honking horns, screaming kids). At times our online virtual backgrounds fail, revealing a cluttered room on the screen.

There is no doubt that online meetings are here to stay. However, we can control the negative effects by reducing meeting frequency and what times they are scheduled.

Creating a shared, detailed agenda ahead of time using a Google doc can cut down on meeting length. Participants can comment or edit beforehand to make the meeting smoother and more efficient. Additionally, using a messaging platform can help reduce the need for meetings by allowing for team communication in real-time. Lastly, a quick touch-base phone call is often the best means to communicate. A call also reduces the stress of having to get dressed up, clear your calendar, and declutter your surroundings. The added benefit of being able to go for a walk and get away from the screen can make phone calls an appealing option. Zoom, Teams  and other online meeting platforms are great tools. But just because we have all these bells and whistles doesn’t mean we need to use them.

Trust your team, check in when needed, but do not require a cognitively burdened employee to be in back-to-back meetings all day.

promotion problems

Transitioning back to work after lockdown

promotion problems

Staying mentally healthy as the country begins going back into workplaces.

Life as we knew it has changed and our reality is very different today than it was 100+ days ago. Many of us were in various stages of lockdown for extended periods of time. and even as many of the initial restrictions were lifted , many have still remained and will remain for the foreseeable future.

As we begin to emerge from what felt like hibernation for many, we are all to aware that life is very different and things will never go back to the way they were.

As we start to return to work, and our children return to school there is a lot to think about. Lockdown has affected us all in different ways, and it is normal to feel uncertain about what the future holds.

Many people feel confused, worried and apprehensive about going back to the workplace and even more feel anxious about sending children back to school. Amid this worry there is also the harsh realisation that indefinite lockdown is not sustainable and life still needs to carry on.

Organisations are considering a range of adjustments to the way work is done, to comply with government recommendations. These adjustments will depend on your job, and your individual circumstances.

Everyone’s situation is unique. However, as you  return to work, there are some general principles that will give you the best chance of getting back to work and staying mentally healthy over the coming months.

 

Talk and connect

It is important to keep in touch with colleagues and your line manager. You don’t need to talk about work, but a quick check-in will help you feel connected. We have all been impacted by the coronavirus in different ways. You may have been bereaved, felt overwhelmed or isolated, or been unwell. If you share this with others they will be better able to help you in the months ahead.

Plan and prepare

Think about your job and your situation. Does anything need to change to help you do your job well? If you haven’t been told what to expect, ask what provisions have been made to create a safe work environment. It can be helpful to think through what will happen on the first day back:

  • How will you get to work?
  • Will anything be different as you enter the building?
  • Who will be there?
  • Will you need to do things differently to get your job done?
  • Are you on a rotation schedule?

Have a return-to-work conversation with your line manager

If you have not received a return-to-work briefing from your line manager ask for one.

This is a chance to identify your work priorities and raise any concerns or questions that you have. If you have something important you want to talk about, make a note of it for when you have a briefing or perhaps drop your manager and email with your concerns. This is an unprecedented time for all of us and we are all trying to figure things out as we go along. NO one person has all the answers so raise your concerns and ask your questions – chances are you are not the only one who has the same concern.

Try not to panic and slip into a paranoid space

Take things one step at a time

The way we all work is likely to keep changing in the coming weeks and months so we will need to keep adjusting. Don’t expect everything to quickly return to normal. The life you knew and were familiar with prior to lockdown is gone and will very likely never return. We have a long journey ahead. We may never be able to go back to our old ways of working so this could give us an opportunity to do things very differently, and even better. Look out for yourself, look out for others and take one day at a time.

Monitor and review how you are getting on

It is important to have regular check-ins with yourself (How am I coping? Could I do more to help stay mentally healthy?) and check-ins with your team members and manager (How are we working? Is there anything we could do differently to work better together?). This way you can address issues as they come up and start to plan and prepare for the journey through COVID-19 together.

Be mindful of those who may have been directedly affected or infected by this virus. Be supportive and check-in if a team member has had to deal with the illness or loss of a family member due to COVID-19. many of those in  essential services have has to deal with unimaginable conditions from and emotional and psychological perspective. Many of them have brought these  traumas home and family have had to deal as best they could. so be gentle and be kind with those who are struggling you may not know what they have has to deal with on the home front.

Finally

Everyone is finding their own path and things might not always go to plan. It is important to be kind to yourself and to be kind to others as we all find our way. Returning to work is not always easy, but having support can make a huge difference. If you are finding it difficult, ask a trusted colleague or friend to help you work through the questions and identify some concrete actions that you, or they, can take to help you.

HOW TO STOP SELF-SABOTAGE YOUR OWN SUCCESS IN ITS TRACKS!

But I do nothing upon myself, and yet I am my own executioner. – John Donne

Are You Caught Up in a Repeating Cycle of Self-Sabotage?

Have you ever wanted something so badly… for so long… trying so damn hard… but time and again you ended up failing miserably?

Have you ever set goals and objectives that you just didn’t or couldn’t reach?

Have you ever wondered why you keep repeating the same patterns of behavior over and over again and keep getting precisely the same pitiful results?

All of us at one point or another go through these repeated cycles and phases. In fact, many of us go through our standard self-sabotage cycles like clockwork each day. As a result, we rarely live up to our full potential in any area of our lives.

What is more, is that we continuously regret the things we did not do then wonder why we keep getting stuck indulging in these limiting patterns of behaviour.

Given all this, you might be wondering whether there is an answer for getting unstuck? Is there an actual solution for avoiding these repetitive and limiting patterns of behavior?

And the answer to these questions is a resounding YES. There is a solution, but first, we must come to understand what self-sabotage is all about.

What Exactly is Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotage is any behavior, thought, emotion or action that holds you back from getting what you consciously want. It is the conflict that exists between conscious desires and unconscious wants that manifest in self-limiting patterns of behavior.

Self-sabotage prevents you from reaching your goals and plays the part of a safety mechanism that protects you against disappointment.

What this essentially means is that your brain is protecting you from getting hurt by doing what it thinks is best — which is to keep you within the confines of your comfort zone.

The Real Reason Why You Indulge in Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage tends to linger in our lives because of a lack of self-esteemself-worthself-confidence, and self-belief.

Moreover, we suffer from self-sabotage patterns because we have great difficulty managing our daily emotional experiencesWe tend to react to events, circumstances, and people in ways that hinder our progress and prevent us from reaching our goals and objectives.

Self-sabotage is also used as an effective method for coping with stressful situations or high expectations.

For example we sabotage ourselves when we are unable to reach the high bars of expectation that have been set for us. We feel incapable of reaching these expectations and thereby indulge in self-sabotaging behaviour as a means of coping with the situation.

No matter what our reasoning for self-sabotage, it is quite clear that if we do not do something about it, we will continue to live a life full of regrets and unfulfilled expectations.

The Manifestation of Self-Sabotage in Our Lives

Self-sabotage can come in many forms and often manifests in our lives in various ways.

Here is a list of typical methods we tend to use to sabotage our own success.

 

When it comes to our limiting thoughts, we must pay close attention to the excuses we tend to make that prevent us from moving forward. Here are some examples:

This won’t work…

I can’t do this…

I’m too busy right now…

I’m just not ready yet…

I’m just not good enough…

Here are 19 more excuses you’re making that might very well be keeping you stuck.

Each of the patterns listed above has its own set of consequences that manifest in a variety of ways in our lives. Some are very obvious, while others might be a little more difficult to identify.

The key for us here is to list down and pinpoint the thoughts, feelings, and actions that lead us down the path of self-sabotage.

Only then, through conscious self-awareness can we begin to put a stop to these patterns of behavior.

4-Steps for Eliminating Your Self-Sabotage Patterns

There is a simple yet very effective method we can use to eliminate self-sabotage patterns from our lives.

The process involves 4 steps. These 4 steps can help you take conscious control of the behaviours that are currently influencing your choices, decisions, and actions.

These steps include:

  1. Identifying Your Self-Sabotaging Behavior
  2. Recreating Your Self-Sabotage Patterns
  3. Identifying a Healthy Replacement Behavior
  4. Practicing the New Behavior Until a Habit is Formed

Let’s have a look at how each of these work

Step 1: Identify the Self-Sabotage Behavior

Your first objective is to Identify the Self-Sabotaging Behavior that is preventing you from moving forward.

To do this, we must become consciously aware of our daily choices, decisions, actions, and the resulting consequences. Use the list in the previous section to identify the various types of self-sabotaging behaviours you tend to indulge in.

Once your behaviours have been identified, it’s necessary to pinpoint specific triggers that may be causing these behaviours to manifest in your life. These triggers could include people, objects, specific times, events, locations, etc. Ask yourself:

What specifically triggers this behavior?

How exactly does this behavior manifest in my life?

Next, we must ask ourselves whether it’s possible to avoid these triggers altogether.

Simply removing these triggers from our lives we will be better prepared to take conscious control of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

However, there is another factor that we must take into consideration. This factor is the limiting beliefs we have associated with each particular self-sabotaging pattern.

The key is to identify these limiting beliefs, then work on converting them into positive empowering beliefs.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to question the validity of your belief. Take just two minutes and ask yourself:

What is it that I believe in this situation?

What is it that I believe about myself and my own abilities?

How did my belief about this, trigger my self-sabotage pattern?

How is this belief ridiculous and/or  impractical?

What would others say about this belief?

What is another more helpful perspective I could take of this situation?

These questions are a good starting point. Use these to help you weaken the beliefs that govern your self-sabotaging behavior.

Step 2: Recreate Your Self-Sabotage Pattern

Having worked through the previous step, you should now be able to consciously recreate the self-sabotage patterns by outlining all the triggers and the associated behaviours that manifest as a result of these triggers.

It’s important that you are very clear about how this behaviour manifests in your life before moving onto the next step.

Ask yourself:

How exactly does this self-sabotaging behaviour tend to manifest in my life?

What typically triggers this behaviour and how?

What patterns am I seeing that could help me to better understand this behaviour at a deeper level?

Once you have a good understanding of the patterns surrounding this behavior, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Identify a Healthy Replacement Behaviour

To eliminate an old pattern of behaviour, we must first replace it with a new pattern that is more practical and helpful.

This is fundamental…why … because at times it is difficult to avoid certain triggers such as people, objects or circumstances that cause us to react in unresourceful ways.

We must take time to develop a more resourceful and appropriate way of responding.

Ask yourself:

How could I respond in a more appropriate, resourceful, and practical way that would help me get what I want in this situation?

How and why is this a better way to respond in this situation?

What are some reasons for making this change?

What are the long-term benefits of changing how I respond in this situation?

What are the key advantages of this new behavior?

Remember that change will not happen if there is a lack of motivation behind that change.

If you cannot find reliable enough reasons to make a change, then you simply won’t have the necessary desire or drive to follow through with the change.

Step 4: Practice the New Behavior Until a Habit is Formed

Once you have identified your new behavior, you must now take the time to practice implementing it as often as possible until a new habit is established.

To do this, begin by going through your response (your healthy replacement behavior) to the situation in your imagination. See every detail in large pictures with lots of colour or music or anything else that is fun for you. Feel the positive energy churning through your body as you continue to enlarge the details of your new habit. Do this a few times daily and each time add more colour, more fun to your picture in your head and very soon you will overcome the old self-sabotaging pattern.

Now that your imagination has been activated, you are ready to put yourself in real-world situations that will naturally trigger your old patterns of behaviour. This time though, you are primed with a new response mechanism that you will continue to practice over the next four weeks until a new empowering habit is formed.

 

10 Practical Ideas for Eliminating Self-Sabotage

To eliminate our self-sabotage patterns, we must make a concerted effort to stay conscious and aware of our behaviours and actions at all times.

At the same time, it’s helpful to put into action a variety of strategies and tactics that can help to eradicate these behaviours once and for all.

Here are 10 suggestions for you to experiment with.

Consistently Learn from Mistakes

Take time at the end of the day to reflect on how you responded to events and circumstances.  Learn from these mistakes and experiences by writing down how you will respond differently tomorrow and in the future.

The more you reflect and learn, the better prepared you will be to face these scenarios in the future.

Think Bigger and Bolder

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own destructive patterns of behavior that we lose sight of what’s most important. When we have a narrow  focus, we fail to see the bigger picture.

Given this, it can, therefore, be helpful to take the time to think bigger and bolder. This can help you to expand your understanding and perspective of the situation.

Ask Better Questions

Questions are the keys to the locks that hold our problems in place.

Asking better and more effective questions, we naturally gain a different perspective on our situation. This can help us to become more consciously aware of the self-sabotage patterns that are ruling our lives.

Ask yourself:

What have I learned from this experience?

What would I do differently given another opportunity?

What could the potential benefits be?

How will changing my response allow me to get what I want faster?

The questions you ask will help expand your choices and options moving forward. Giving yourself more choices and options you will be in a better position to work through your self-sabotaging behaviours in optimal ways.

Treat the Process of Change as an Experiment

Just like we did not master the process of walking in one day, changing old habits will also not happen in one day. However, it does happen over time.

When you took your first steps, you must have stumbled more than once. However, you got back up and continued to struggle until you eventually mastered the mechanics of walking. It was one of your little life experiments that I imagine you succeeded at over time. 🙂

The process of change is precisely the same. Treat it as an experiment that will take some time and effort.

You will probably not be victorious after the first or even second attempt. However, over time you will get better at it  as long as you persist. Eventually you will win the war over your self-sabotage patterns.

 

Seek Advice from Other People

It’s important to always ask for help .Seek advice from people who have had practical experience dealing with what you are currently struggling with. Trust me, you are not the only one who is /or has gone through this. They know from personal experience the struggles you are likely to face along the way. They will, therefore, be more than happy to  give you practical advice and suggestions that have helped them; to try. You never know if one of those pearls of wisdom will allow you to move beyond your self-sabotage patterns.

 

Make Sure to Plan in Advance

We often struggle through life when we do not know what to expect, or have little to-no-idea how circumstances will unfold.

However, when we begin to lay down solid plans for how we will respond to situations, people, and circumstances, we begin taking control of our lives.

While laying out these plans; take a moment to consider possible challenges and obstacles that you might face along the way. Acknowledge that  obstacles may exist, then consider how you will respond if or when these occur. Even if you don’t deal with these effectively at the time, you will at the very least learn from your experience. This will allow you to adjust your approach the next time around.

 

Focus on Exploring Solutions

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own inadequacies and limitations that all we see are problems and setbacks. This particular way of looking at life only leads to further challenges.

Instead, take time to consider possible solutions to the problems you are dealing with. This begins by asking more effective questions that focus your brain on finding answers, insights, and ideas, not problems.

 

Adjust Your Expectations

Our expectations can sometimes lift us up to new heights, or they can demoralize us emotionally. This is why it is so important to always keep our expectations in-check. Managing expectations ensure that we are not aiming too high too quickly and allow us to avoid  disappointment.

 

Set your expectations high, however, give yourself permission to be flexible to make changes should  your circumstances, conditions, and resources change.

Remind yourself that you didn’t master the process of walking in one day. You instead mastered it over time. The same is true when it comes to mastering your own behaviour patterns.

 

Take Intelligent Risks

More often than not, those who take more risks have fewer regrets than those who play it safe and struggle with uncertainty. The same is true when it comes to transforming your behaviour.

You need to take risks, you need to take a chance on yourself, and you need to snap out of old unresourceful limiting patterns of behaviour that no longer serve you.

 

The best time to start making changes was yesterday. The second best time is Right Now.

The only person can make the change is YOU.

 

Take Time for Self-Reflection

The people who get ahead in life are the ones who actually take the time to consistently think through their daily choices, decisions, and actions.

Successful people learn from what worked or failed to work. They adjust their course of action by taking a different approach.

Only through self-reflection will you gain the necessary insight, perspective, and understanding to begin the process of change and transformation.

 

Concluding Thoughts

Self-sabotage is like a grenade that suddenly and unexpectedly explodes; pushing us away from our deepest wants and desires. However, there are no excuses, because we are the ones who consciously control the movement of the pin.

It is therefore, up to us to make the decision that we will no longer fall prey to our self-sabotaging patterns of behavior ever again.

 

The choice is yours. It’s in your hands. You now know what to do and how to do it. The real question is when will you get started? When will you finally commit to putting an end to the self-sabotaging behavior that is preventing you from living the life you truly desire to live? Are your goals  worth making the change? Are you worth making the change? 🙂

 

What have you done to change your limiting beliefs? Leave a comment – I would love to hear from you.

7 Ways To Revamp Your Resume For A Leadership Position

Are You a Prime Candidate for a Mid-level or Senior leadership Role?

If so, you have to shake up the way you tailor your resume for that position.

The way recruiters and hiring managers look for leadership candidates is slightly different t the way they search for candidates in other roles.

Before you apply for that leadership position, make sure you leverage these seven strategies to tailor your resume for maximum impact.

Revamp Your Resume’s Keywords

You may know, the computer databases, or Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), that stores and analyses incoming resumes from job boards, employers, and recruiter sites, count the number of times certain words are used in your resume. These keywords are industry-specific and unique to each role in each company. Your resume ranks higher if you include more of these words in the document.

  • Include a keyword section in your summary and stock it with 12 to 15 keywords pulled from the job description of the role you are pursuing.
  • More importantly, use these keywords in each relevant job listing you include in your document. These words can be easily woven into sentences in your position overview statements, as well as your achievements.
  • If you’re a new graduate, have recently attained a qualification, or don’t have all of the experience sought in the job posting you’re applying for, try listing relevant coursework in your resume’s education section. This will boost your keyword count.
  • Fairly universal keywords include terms such as strategic planning, operations leadership, business management, cross-functional, cross-cultural, global, talent management, organizational restructuring, and P&L accountability.

Re-Position Your Resume’s Summary

Each time you apply for a new role, you need to tweak your career summary to maximize the number of keywords. You also need to emphasize the right capabilities.

When you apply for a leadership role, it is imperative to showcase your skills and experience with strategy creation. In lower-level jobs, you have to demonstrate your tactical execution strengths; in director-level plus positions, designing and implementing strategic plans is absolutely critical.

  • Briefly describe the high points of your leadership experience in your summary. Relevant details you may want to include are things like key industries, sizes of companies you’ve worked for, the largest team size you’ve led, and the largest budget or P&L you’ve managed.
  • Include brief descriptors of your leadership and communication style. These are less hard-hitting issues that deserve more attention on executive resumes. If you don’t know your communication style, take this free quiz to find out what it is and how to use it to your advantage.
  • Be sure to include your strategy experience in addition to listing strategic planning as one of your key skills.
  • Consider including two or three brief (but meaningful) career achievements as part of your summary. Choose accomplishments which demonstrate your core leadership strengths and ability to deliver top and bottom-line impacts on sales, revenue, productivity, efficiency, and expense management.

Clarify The Context Of Each Position, Promotion, Or Achievement

One of a resume’s key tasks is to tell the story of your career. Yours must convey the importance and relevance of each position change you’ve made while simultaneously clarifying the key challenges you faced in the role.

  • Include a brief position overview or introduction to each role on your resume. If the position was a promotion or special assignment, make that clear.
  • Showcase the context of your hire or promotion. Were you the first sales person in a new territory, or the newest manager in a series of five within a short time frame? Were you hired or promoted with specific challenges in mind? Were you hired or promoted based on specific skills or experience you possessed?
  • If you were placed in the role to resolve specific challenges, it’s vital to note the circumstances of your entry into the position. For example, if you were hired to turn around declining sales, what was the sales level when you started? What sales level did you attain or position during your tenure?
  • Keep it brief. Your position introduction should take up only two to three lines of text. Make every word count!
  • Do the same thing with your achievements by including key details that reveal the larger context of your actions. If you averted a division closure by turning around sales, that’s vital to highlight. If your marketing efforts helped open new market sectors which paved the way for a mission-critical merger, say so.
  •  Don’t just focus on results—put your results in a larger context that makes your overall contributions more clear.

Front-Load Your Resume’s Achievements With A Strategic Focus

Most job seekers assume that recruiters read resumes the same way that they do. However, that’s not necessarily the case.

Many recruiters read a resume “in order” (a.k.a in pieces and parts) to see the big picture of the prospective candidate’s career. This often includes reading achievement statements differently than you and I do.

Before reading them in their entirety, some recruiters briefly review the first few words of each bulleted statement to test the waters, so to speak. They also do this to see if the accomplishments are more tactically or strategically focused. It’s imperative that you front-load your achievements with the strategic focus they’re looking for, assuming you have that experience.

  • In leadership positions, your strategy influence is often a bigger deal than your monetary impact. Begin your bulleted statements by clarifying your strategic impact, then note the specific impacts you achieved.
  • For example, here’s a typical “homemade” bullet written by a real job seeker: “Working on a green field project that would double the capacity of the plant.” Here’s a revamp which shifts the emphasis to strategy: “Road mapped Greenfield plant start-up from strategic planning to on-time, on-budget roll-out in 2 years. Outcome: Doubled throughput and increased revenue by $46 M.”

Align Your Education & Extra Sections With A Leadership Focus

It’s always important to include up-to-date listings of your educational credentials, including certifications, relevant affiliations, and professional development coursework. However, you shouldn’t overlook other details that can bolster the leadership focus of your resume.

  • Any evidence of your present or past leadership experience may be relevant. So, consider adding present or past volunteer leadership roles in professional or community organizations.
  • Make sure you include any for profit or not-for-profit board or committee roles you have fulfilled. And if space permits, include key initiatives you have contributed to during your tenure on these boards or committees.
  • Leadership courses completed at major grad schools deserve emphasis as well.
  • When you list industry-specific certifications, include them in acronym form as well as spelled out because either form is a keyword.
  • If you have won leadership awards or been selected for leadership development programs with any of your employers, make sure you note these.

Use The Job’s Title As Your Resume’s Title

This is a quick change but a critical one: make sure you insert the exact title of the position you’re pursuing into your resume as its title. This will add more keywords to your resume, but, more importantly, it will shape the perception of your resume’s readers to see you as qualified for the position you are targeting.

Now, this won’t work if you apply for a leadership role for which you have few, if any, qualifications. However, if you are well-qualified for the position you’re targeting and meet 75% or more of the role requirements, then this is a wise and appropriate thing to do.

Harness Your Career Brand In A Tagline

Whether you call it a tagline or a power statement, these single-line headlines are the perfect length to encapsulate a key leadership trait you possess along with your most influential and important career-long impacts.

These kinds of statements are big picture by nature, so they encompass the whole of your career rather than just your most recent role. Secondary or tertiary power statements can be used to spell out additional role-specific achievements.

  • For example, here’s the tagline used for an executive resume: “Fuelled $15B in revenue career-long while delivering 5x investor returns.” As you can see, short statements are more powerful when used as headlines; key details can be provided in the work history section of your resume.
  • Let’s say you’re a leader with a turnaround history—that would be important to note in a key location. Hence, a tagline such as this might be beneficial: “Reversed the performance of 4 mid-size companies from negative to up to +$144M in 11 months.”

All of the above are content shifts you need to make in your resume to properly position yourself as a leadership candidate. In addition, consider overhauling your resume’s “look and feel” to ensure you call attention to executive-level experience. Remember an organisation posting a job is looking to fill a capacity gap; so make sure you convince them that the capacity you have can fill their gap.

Pearls of Wisdom

Hello there hope you are having a fabulous week.

So I have been reading this book about mindset and this thought crossed my mind. I wonder how many other people may need to read some of these pearls of wisdom I have been reading. I then realised that you may not have the time or the interest in reading a book on mindset and how our thoughts influence our daily lives. More importantly how our thoughts can change our reality.

I know I was a bit skeptical at first too but I kept reading anyway. I came to realise this is not magic, its not some new age pop-psychology or even something reserved for those “enlightened gurus” or “flower-power” types. It is all quite real and surprisingly well researched. In fact it is used very successfully by many people who many of us know [maybe not personally but we know who they are].

You know who Arnold  Schwarzenegger is right – like him or loath him go read his story. There are many like him who have used these little pearls and have made remarkable changes in their lives.

Truthfully what do you have to loose – that was my view anyway so I decided to give it a bash. I have only just started so will let you know how it goes. Why not give it a try and let me know how your reality changes. Or maybe just try it for sniffs-and-giggles and see what happens. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

So here goes the first little pearl of wisdom I came across.

Visualization is using your imagination to see yourself in a situation that hasn’t yet happened, picturing yourself having or doing the thing you want, and successfully achieving the results you desire.

  1. Decide what you want to do or have.
  2. Relax. Spend several minutes unwinding so that you are comfortable in body and mind.
  3. Spend five to ten minutes visualizing the reality you want.

The mental pictures we indulge in, become a blueprint for our goals, a mold into which we pour our energy.

The more the thought is repeated the more energy and power it generates, and the more readily it is able to manifest itself.

Strong and concentrated thoughts are strong and concentrated forces.

3 Reasons WHY Executive Coaching is Important

Read what CoffeeChat has to say about Coaching – Very Good Reasons

1) FOUNDATIONAL SUPPORT

Even if leadership skills come to you naturally, to sustainability grow yourself and others, you need to intentionally develop your executive presence by developing mental models to that will guide and scale up your decision making ability.

2) MOVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

As they say, what got you here won’t get you there. With a new leadership role comes higher expectations to communicate effectively and lead by example.

3) CONTINUOUS GROWTH

Even top-performing leaders need to continue to grow themselves. As an executive, you must actively reflect on how to challenge and inspire your teams and compete on the global stage in a rapidly-evolving world. Download our Guide to Executive Coaching to see how you can use the CoffeeChat platform to find your very own coach.

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