Be Intentional About 2023: Create Your Future

Be Intentional About 2023: Create Your Future

With 2022 behind us and the lengthening of daylight each day, my positivity says things can only get better. Now is the time to think and dream about 2023. What would you like to intentionally create for yourself this year? By thinking about what you want to create in your life this year and how you want to BE as you do those things, it just might be the hope you need to get through these darker months.

Now there are people out there that say they don’t want to plan; they want to accept what comes along spontaneously. If they plan they think they’ll take the fun out of life or miss what comes along. Why not have both? Think what you want in your life and be open to the serendipity that comes along.

Just like a company has a vision and strategic plan, or at least successful companies, you as an individual would do well to have a vision and strategic plan for your life. This isn’t about making New Year’s resolutions, those don’t work. This is simply about thinking about what you want and being intentional about having more of that in your life.

The photo here is my business partner, Sue, and I doing our reflection, lessons learned and creation this year at a very nice spa hotel. That’s how much we are committed to this exercise, as we’ve done it every year for probably over a decade.

Lessons Learned

In last month’s article I suggested reflecting on 2022 which you can reread here The self-reflection was to capture the successes, achievements and celebrations and release the failures, disappointments and regrets. From those reflections of the past year, what are the lessons you’ve learned?

What matters to you?

What do you want more of in your life? Less of?

If you could have a do-over of something within your control this past year, what would you do differently?

Think baby steps, what are some qualities you’d want more in your daily life (humour, fun, depth, lightness, purpose, consciousness)?

Even if you don’t do the reflection exercise you can still do this next step…

Create Your Future

With everything you’ve learned from 2022 now create a captivating vision for 2023. Think about the following questions. As you think about 2023 also think about how you want to feel. What would excite you about the year? It’s not just what you want to achieve, it’s also about how you want to feel and be.

What do you want in the year ahead? Think of all aspects of your life – family, work, personal, financial, health, fun, spiritual, relationships, etc.

What are you tolerating that you’d like to change in the next year?

What would you add more regularly to your life for more enjoyment, fun or fulfilment?

What is something you’d do this year if you didn’t care what people thought of it/you?

If this year was a chapter in the book of your life, what would this next chapter be called/what would its title be?

Things I’ve been thinking of for this year are: more joy, laughter, singing, delivering a new leadership program with a colleague, gratitude and lightness.

Capturing Your Vision – Vision Board or Something Else?

Now that you’ve thought of the various aspects you’d like, you have an idea of the overall theme (from your chapter title) and some qualities or characteristics you’d like to experience more, it’s time to pull them all together.

There are a few options for how to do this however, first why do this? Because we know that by engaging the creative part of your brain there’s more chance of following through than just relying on willpower.

1. Make a vision board – this is the most popular suggestion although this doesn’t appeal to everyone. Find images (from the internet, canva, pintrest, magazines, draw) of the things you’ve just identified and put them together (on a poster, on-line). It’s essentially a collage, so you have a visual reminder of your aspirations for the year. This is what I chose to do this year, as there were pictures of me from the year that were ‘what I want more of’ this year so I’ve included them.

2. Write a list – so you can refer to it periodically through the year to plan your intentions into your schedule.

3. Pick some music that represents your theme and qualities – play it often. A friend of mine has chosen “I’m Coming Out” as her song, I’m still looking for mine. Any suggestions around fun, release or letting go would be very much appreciated.

4. Draw yourself a picture – this is what I’ve done for many years prior to 2023. I draw images and words for the coming year and at the end a central image usually emerges that I then photograph as my phone wallpaper.

There’s no right or wrong way to capture your visioning, do what appeals to you most or create your own idea and let me know what that is. Once captured, plan how you can work towards including those new aspects into your life, in small incremental steps.

2023 will pass (if you’re lucky; the alternative is sad and not pleasant) like every other year. To have an idea of how you want it to be better or different than 2022 requires visioning and then action. Take the time to dream, it doesn’t have to be long or all at one time. Then live the vision through reminders, action and inspiration. And enjoy whatever else comes along the way!

I’d love to hear about your theme, vision, images and ideas if you’d like to share them with me or how you felt trying this exercise.

Book a COMPLIMENTARY coaching session with me here for some guided visioning time – and some practical tips for how to achieve that vision. What would make you more effective and fulfilled at work and personally?

Self Reflection of 2022 to Capture Your Lessons Learned

A Time for Self Reflection

Hard to believe we are at the beginning of another year.

I find the more experienced 😉 I get, the faster time flies!

This time of year signals something to me beyond just the holidays. It’s the time for Completion and Creation. What is that you ask? Great question!

Every year around the holidays my friend/business partner sit together and spend a day reviewing the year just ended (completion) and settings goals and intentions for the coming year (creation). We’ve been doing it for years. Us working together was prompted out of one of these such sessions years ago.

I do this review for all aspects of my life – personal and professional. Just as many companies do an annual Business Review, you can do the same for your personal life. It’s super helpful for both!

Step #1 – COMPLETING 2022

Here are questions to help you review the year. Research studies show it’s best to actually write down your answers and not just ‘think’ about them to garner the most learning, enjoyment and release from the exercise.

1. What accomplishments are you most proud of from 2022?

2. What are your top joys, celebrations, highlights and milestones from the year?

3. What challenges or hurdles did you overcome in 2022?

4. What relationships did you develop (new or existing)?

5. What difference did you make in 2022? In the world, the community, for others.

6. What did you learn this year?

7. As a coach I have to ask, how have you grown in 2022?

8. If this year was a chapter in the book of your life, what was it called?

Spend time over the next few weeks, dipping in and out of these questions, as different things will come to you over time. It’s also fun to ask others you’re gathered with this holiday for their reflections on the various questions for themselves.

Book a call here to discuss what this review has highlighted for you or your organisation and how I might help.

More Resources?

If you’d like more food for thought on this process you can check out previous blogs I’ve done over the years about completion:

One on Self-Reflection here or more prompts on the year-end review here.

Stay tuned for Step #2 – Creating 2023 in the next blog.

What Admiral the Stallion can Teach You About Leadership

What Admiral the Stallion can Teach You About Leadership

A wet, cold, cloudy day in an English field learning leadership lessons from horses.

Sounds fun 😉 It was!

I am part of a leadership development group that met 5 years ago and every year we reunite to connect, engage and grow ourselves as leaders. This year with the help of Jude Jennison, and her herd, we learned lots.

Back to the horses. To be clear, we were beside the horses, not on top of them. Said another way, we didn’t ride the horses. And the reason for that was fascinating…

Collaboration

When you ride a horse, you sit on top of the horse, with reins in your hands usually. There is an element of control the rider has over the horse for their own safety, so it’s the rider that decides for the most part. This means power and control are with the rider. If the rider didn’t have reins, and gave all the power to the horse, that’s an imbalance too.

By being with the horses, beside the horses, the power is equal. It’s pure, collaborative leadership as equals, not about command and control. The horses are free to engage; it comes down to how we show up or not, and whether and not they engage.

From that day, these are some more learnings from Callie, Tiffin, Admiral, Mr Blue and Jack.

Relatability fosters Connection

This lesson comes from Admiral, a proud, majestic stallion, who sadly is no longer with us, mere weeks later ☹ We were introduced to Admiral with an explanation of his background which included some structural health issues.

I could relate being someone with joint and bone issues. I was amazed that I felt connection to a horse based on some shared circumstances. As others in the group talked about which horses they were drawn to many of them identified the link was shared commonalities.

It’s why people in positions of power are told to share something about themselves that other “normal” people can relate to, to create relatability.

Authenticity

Behavioural and energetic alignment are key to authenticity. We were told to approach a horse and interact. When I approached with trepidation, worried I’d infringe too much on Mr Blue’s space too quickly, he cast a quick gaze at me then continued chomping on the grass, disinterested in me entirely. I physically approached, and my energy was worried, hesitant, reluctant.

We regrouped and were invited to approach a horse and openly shed a fear, something that was blocking us in the moment. I spoke my trepidation on infringing, of doing it wrong and said to let it go. As I spoke my fear, held the intention of connecting to Admiral and opened my heart to be with him, he paused and raised his head, I stroked his long neck and he stood with me. My energy matched my intention and my behaviours.

Leading can be lonely

In the afternoon we did a team exercise. The task was to traverse the field as a group with three of the horses as part of our group (the horses were loosely on leads for this exercise). The humans positioned themselves at front, middle and back with the first horse right behind the lone ‘leader’ flanked by a few humans. The other horses and humans were to follow.

I was the leader for one exercise and as I slowly walked forward, yelling back to the group where we were going I quickly felt isolated and alone. I didn’t know what was going on behind me. I couldn’t hear if the horses were coming along with us or not. I tried to look yet my view of the group was blocked by that first flank of beings.

I asked what was going on. I heard the 2nd flank yell back behind them asking what was going on. They couldn’t hear from the people behind them. It was never clear until I saw a photo Jude took afterwards, showing that we were proceeding as a group in the direction I was walking, I just didn’t know it, and everyone was struggling to know what was going on in the chain – it’s lonely at the top, and maybe not just at the top…

Be Empathetic. Every Position is Hard

We did two team exercises, one in which I lead and one in which I was in the middle of the line-up. I found both positions hard, as did others when we debriefed. Everyone struggled to know what was going on in any of the other parts of the line-up.

Everyone can find their positions challenging, communication between the positions can be challenging. And communication within an organization is essential for people to feel connected, to belong, to understand the vision, the progress and to be able to contribute in the best possible way.

In short, regular communication across the organization is required for success.

What learnings do you have from interacting with animals?

What leadership quality is your strength?

Who is your role model for leadership?

Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how to help you motivate, influence and inspire your people.

Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

COVID-19 seems so last year, what can a learn about it now?

I’m sick of the pandemic and don’t want to read more about it.

Well, remember the expression credited to Spanish philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

Read what three senior human resources (HR) leaders in global organizations have shared in the last year about their learnings from COVID – Thoughts and lessons we’d be prudent to remember to reap some good out of the pandemic.

Taboo no more – Mental Health at Work

HR has long been an advocate for people in their organizations, striving to ensure that employees are equipped, developed and supported to be the engine that drives the business.

The pandemic “opened up space to put the topics of mental health, wellbeing, and having a 3600 understanding of an employee on the table among all employees with a care-taking role in the organization” according to Mauricio Pordomingo, Vice President Talent at PepsiCo Europe

The lesson here is that all facets of an individual’s life affect their performance at work. We’ve knowing this intellectually for years and the last two years have required direct discussions about home situations, work/life balance, health, and family circumstances. On an obvious level, we’ve been in our colleagues’ homes through video calls, seeing a side of them we hadn’t necessarily seen previously. The result being the necessity for specific conversations with the employee and their people leaders to identify and enact tangible solutions for their situations and experience.

How do we keep these hot or difficult topics of mental health and wellbeing open in a respectful and supportive manner?

“There’s a need to give employees space to share their emotions, talk about how they feel, and provide varying levels of support and care as needed” according to Washington Munetsi, HR Director Operations Nestlé

For PepsiCo, they helped make mental health more mainstream and break the societal taboo by featuring mental health in their Lays Christmas advertising campaign to consumers.
See last week’s blog about the Feelings Wheel to understand more about emotions, here.

Vulnerability and Leadership

Past experience became useless at the onset of lockdowns. Leaders felt and might have appeared more vulnerable as they didn’t have the answers nor much relevant experience to rely on.

“We didn’t have a play book for handling a pandemic and the negative impact it would have on peoples’ situations” Christopher Kirkpatrick, Vice President Human Resources Adidas Canada

This uncertainty and fear required people leaders to step into spaces with which they weren’t necessarily comfortable. It required and still does require agility, curiosity and empathy when dealing with others.

As Chris says,

“It forced breaking walls down, creating a space for true dialogue, forcing everyone into who they actually are by being exposed – [Leaders had to say] I’m here to listen and to ultimately grow you once I understand better.”

Adidas Canada broke down these walls with (i) monthly templated touch points to check in with employee’s wellbeing and to keep engagement during a difficult time; (ii) quarterly cross-departmental “ask me anything” sessions; and (iii) matching people for 10,000 virtual coffees.

True Accessibility and Inclusivity

Many of the articles I write, and read for that matter, focus on workplace environments that are predominately offices. The vast majority of workers actually don’t work in offices. My background at Nestlé and P&G Inc remind me of the 100,000’s of employees who are desk-free, working in factories, trucks and other non-desk situations.
Working from home, restrictions on business travel and key workers only physically present in a workplace allowed for true accessibility. Companies were forced to create new and different connections to desk-free employees.

“Desk-free employees were given direct connections to the systems within our factory environment. This resulted within record time in more streamlined operations and full inclusion. The workload shifted from paperwork to more digitalization” said Washington, Munetsi

What were your learnings from the last 931 days?

Which ideas and concepts from this article would be helpful for you to explore further for your organization?

What might be helpful for you and your team to have greater success, resilience and satisfaction?

Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how to help you motivate, influence and inspire your people.

Want to know the Real Basis for Emotional Intelligence?

Want to know the Real Basis for Emotional Intelligence?

Want more engagement with your team?

Been told you could be more empathetic?

Wondering what Emotional Intelligence even is?

If you know what emotional intelligence is skip the first sections and jump to the tool and tips.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

EI (or EQ) is the overarching term to describe four concepts: the ability to know one’s emotions, manage one’s emotions, understand the emotions of other people, and manage relationships with others. As the English Oxford Living Dictionary defines it: “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. The concept was popularized in the 1996 book Emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman, still a great reference to this day.

What is Emotional Intelligence in Leadership?

EQ in Leadership is about knowing and managing one’s self enough to influence, motivate, connect and inspire others. It’s the soft skills or people skills needed to interact with others.
Some clients have asked “isn’t this manipulation?” The Oxford English Dictionary says manipulate is: “handle or control (a tool, mechanism, information, etc.) in a skilful manner. Control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly.” So, yes, it is manipulation. And, so what? If you get what you want while being yourself AND the other person is treated well, with full permission to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and has their needs met, what does it matter? The issue is the intention behind the interaction; if it’s to influence for good reasons, then OK; if it’s to influence for unscrupulous, evil, bad reasons, then it’s not OK.

The Foundation for EQ is….

Emotions. The clue was in the title – EMOTIONal intelligence.

Humans are emotional beings. The part of our brain that deals with emotions (limbic) is the first port of call for all nerve endings entering our brain through our spinal cord. Nerve impulses hit the “emotion” part before getting to the prefrontal cortex where reason and executive function happens.

Feelings in the Workplace

People say that business isn’t personal, that it’s rational and fact-based. And emotions are present at work every day.

Organizations want and even foster emotions at work – emotions such as: calm, optimistic, positive, engaged, energetic, confident, trusting, passionate, enthusiastic to name just a few.

Yes, that list is a list of emotions that companies have in mind when hiring, when considering promotions, wanting in and for their people.

So Why Are Emotions Denied by Many in the Workplace?

I believe it’s because of FEAR (which is a feeling). Many of us aren’t taught about emotions or feelings either from our upbringing or our schooling. When we aren’t comfortable with something, it’s hard to be with it. We don’t know what to do when someone expresses an emotion.
A coaching client of mine was beside himself when a direct report cried in their 1:1. He wanted the crying to stop. He was so uncomfortable with it he lost the idea that a direct report was feeling so bad that she was in tears. Once we reviewed the feelings wheel and the content in this article he felt better able to handle it the next time. He revisited the situation with the direct report and helped her learn what was behind the emotion. Interestingly, he found out the tears where frustration and anger at a colleague stonewalling a key project. He never imagined this was the issue.

How to Use Emotions at Work

Emotions are data. Just as sales, staff turnover, and market research are all data. The data needs to be analysed to become information that you can then action. Say your company is below the sales target this month. You analyse the data to determine what’s causing the low sales number until you identify the root cause, so you can find the appropriate solution and act on it.

And emotions are the same. They tell you something. The emotions we think of as “positive” are emotions we feel when our needs are being met. The emotions we think of as “negative” are emotions we feel when our needs are not being met.

Same for other people. When someone is engaged and attentive, a need of theirs is being met (they are intellectually stimulated, hopeful about an idea, or being valued for example). When someone is frustrated, a need of there is not being met (they are not getting the answer they want, or fast enough for example).

Practical Tips for Emotions at Work

  • Get yourself a ‘feelings wheel’ like the one in this article to use to accurately name or label the feelings/internal emotions you are feeling. Of note, feeling dismissed, feeling undervalued, feeling attacked, feeling excluded are not feelings. They are thoughts. They are judgments or evaluations or opinions. Focus on the feeling itself, that’s where the data is. The judgement is not necessarily accurate and it’s most probably not helpful. This is the work of Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg if you want to learn more.
  • Reflect on what your emotions are at various times while working. What is the information in that emotion? If it’s ‘positive’ your needs or wants are being met – what are those needs? If it’s ‘negative’ your needs or wants are not being met – what are those needs? The more comfortable you are with your emotions the more comfortable you can be with others’ emotions.
  • If you have unmet needs, what are all the possible ways of getting those needs met? How do you want to proceed to get those needs met? Or recognize that need doesn’t have to be met?Ask others what they are feeling. Help them identify the real feeling they have rather than their judgement. Help them see their needs – whether met or unmet for their self-awareness. Other people always have emotions, they are there whether you ask about them or not. Better to ask and have them out (good or bad) so they can be enjoyed or released.

 

What are you feeling after reading this article?

What might your people be feeling in their lives? In their interaction with you?

What might be helpful for you and your team to have greater success, agility, resilience and satisfaction?

Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how to help you motivate, influence and inspire your people.

Wellbeing Versus Workload? Doesn’t have to be One or the Other.

Too much to do not enough time? I’m feeling this as I write because I’m trying to get everything done before taking time off work for vacation/annual leave. I’m not the only one. A recent UK-wide study by YouGov found ¾ of ALL UK adults have felt so stressed at times in the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope¹. Another study conducted by leading UK universities found 2/3 of people working in health and social care are overwhelmed and at risk of burnout². Research in the USA found similar results across a multitude of industries and professions.

In the past week alone 12,100 google searches have been conducted in the UK for the word OVERWHELM. Add in all the variations of overwhelmed, overwhelmed at work, feeling stressed and overwhelmed, burnout and it’s 10’s of thousands pf people researching it and those are just the people who taking the time and have the headspace to google it.

One of my clients has a team working in Ukraine. Yes, they are still working there 2 months after the start of the war. The day before our coaching session my client was handling the disruption in work caused by the shelling in the area where most of his team were situated while making sure his team was safe, their families were safe, and arranging if anyone now wanted to leave while managing his stress, fears and work requirements. Gratefully I’m not dealing with life and death as many of my clients are at this time.

Importance of Wellbeing at Work

The above stats underline the requirement for organizations to focus on health and wellbeing in the workplace. Decades ago wellbeing in the workplace was about gym membership benefits, health insurance, medication plans etc. A company was deemed to be progressive if the benefits extended to onsite gyms and benefit coverage for massages. It was all about health in terms of physical health. Later wellbeing extended to employee assistance programs to address some of the mental and emotional things that people face.
Now it’s about body, mind and soul – holistic wellbeing to not just cope or avoid burnout but to enjoy, contribute, be fulfilled in the way that’s best for the individual. It’s about supporting people to be authentically themselves (diversity, equality and inclusion is an aspect of this) and to be resilient to the scale and pace of change in today’s world. It’s dealing with people as full human beings and not just their head and hands who do tasks at work.

Leadership Challenge

For some in leadership positions this evolution and the current reality are obvious, and for others it’s a difficult transition. Some just want people to come into work, get the work done well and go home. There’s a discomfort around “understanding peoples’ needs and feelings,” making sure others are feeling ‘ok,’ being mindful in how work is delegated rather than just assigning tasks. This challenge can be met with better emotional intelligence (EQ). Knowing yourself and then knowing others, so you can manage the interaction to be win-win.

Wellbeing + Workload – Not a trade-off

The people are the key to getting the work done; an organization can’t succeed without productive people and for sustained productivity, people need to be healthy and well (holistically across head, heart and hands).

People + Wellbeing = Productivity

The biggest thing is to be in dialogue about this exact thing – how do we achieve our goals while looking after ourselves and others? It’s not a question of prioritizing one over the other. It’s about working in a ‘healthy’ way within a wellbeing culture. A leader’s thoughts need to be oriented around “I want you to be yourself, I can’t do it without you, your total wellbeing is key. What does that mean and how do we facilitate it?”

Tips for Working in a Wellbeing Manner

1. Be Courageous – have the courage to have the conversation about the work needs and human needs. In fact, courage is needed for each of the following tips. Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s feeling the fear and proceeding despite it. This requires self-management in emotional intelligence terms – feeling it and speaking up anyway.

2. Acknowledge Emotions– Stress is present in the workplace; the issue is to what degree? Behavioural science tells us that some amount of stress is needed to perform, it creates the energy to follow through and act, it motivates. When it’s too much it becomes counterproductive. Talk about how people are feeling sometimes. The feelings are there (‘positive’ and ‘negative’) whether we talk about them or not. Having people share their emotions can alleviate the pressure or in the case of ‘positive’ emotions make the environment better.

3. Simplify – Challenge what work really needs to be done. Are we focusing on the right things to make a difference and be successful? Question old processes, practices or expectations? This takes courage especially during change – it often feels safer to continue doing what has always been done. Are there new, faster, more efficient ways of doing some of the work? Ask because you might not know, and others might. This is vulnerable and hence takes courage as there’s a fear of saying ‘I don’t know’ in an organization and being judged poorly for it. This also included reducing the reliance on the volume of emails people send, and the amount of inefficient and needless meetings – complaints from pretty much everyone!

4. Learn how to say no or ‘set boundaries’ – what do you do when you’re being asked to do too much at work or you just have too much work to do? You talk about it in a respectful, professional, transparent manner. Tell people that consequences of taking on another task or project so choices or priorities can be clear. This touches on all 4 quadrants of the EQ model – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social management.

5. Foster individual resilience – promote self-awareness, reframe failure or mistakes to learnings, adopt a growth mindset, be connected to others for support and perspective, watch when your stress moves from optimal to overload, talk to others about how you feel. As part of resilience, healthy lifestyle routines are mandatory such as: eat healthy food, create good sleep habits, exercise regularly, avoid or limit alcohol, sugar, and excessive screen time, undertake regular health checks, practice some sort of mindfulness and relaxation, be in nature, have friends/family around you and enjoy some fun.

6. Ensure the practical wellbeing fundamentals are in place – ensure fair pay and benefit structures; environmental aspects such as accessible, good food onsite, physical spaces are ergonomic, legal/reasonable working hours are enforced, fitness in supported, employee assistance programs are robust and known, career development is cultivated, employees have a voice through some forum.

7. Be a values and purpose led leader (if not organizations) – be open and engaged in two-way conversation, behave in accordance with the company values and mission, encourage and role model a good personal/professional balance, create autonomy for people to do what they do, belonging and connection. Humans are social creatures and since we spend most of our waking hours at work this connection needs to be authentic and positive.

What one thing in this list could deliver the biggest improvement in your wellbeing?

What’s the leadership challenge you’re facing?

What support could you have to help your own productivity and resilience?

Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how to you can optimize your wellbeing and workload and/or that of your people.

¹ https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/news/stressed-nation-74-uk-overwhelmed-or-unable-cope-some-point-past-year

² https://www.ulster.ac.uk/news/2022/may/uk-wide-study-shows-health-and-social-care-workforce-working-longer-hours-with-two-thirds-feeling-overwhelmed-and-at-risk-of-burnout

EQ Leadership Formula Model

What can the dinosaur extinction teach us? Read here.

I’m always fascinated to hear what CEOs have to say about leadership – when they pull back the curtain and reveal their thoughts and feelings, what’s going on behind the scenes for them.

Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, talked of dinosaurs!

Asked how different he is as CEO compared with 30 years ago when he was studying finance and accounting at university he says: “Hopefully that version of me is now quite different— and not only in that timeframe, but also between now and 2017 when I took on this role. Being able to take in new situations and reimagine and reinvent yourself, to me, is part of life. The alternative is ossification, and that’s not a good thing. It didn’t help the dinosaurs, and it doesn’t help us.

I’m in the process of reimagining myself. I’ve accepted I’m a writer (an award-winning business book helps 😉). I am not a video presenter, I don’t like doing videos and I’m pushing myself to embrace that for an upcoming event I’m doing with @Sue Belton. It’s having me stretch myself with practical things such as smile more, pause, don’t talk to fast, look at the camera, and remember you’re co-presenting. It’s having me challenge my beliefs and work through my preferences for static, quiet activities.

Reinventing, and at least reimaging, one’s self is fundamental to the Self-Awareness portion of Emotional Intelligence. It starts with knowing yourself and your emotions. Understanding yourself will help you know the aspects of yourself that serve you and those that don’t. The ones that aren’t serving you anymore might point to a risk of ossification.

The key tip to doing this is booking time with yourself regularly. This is called leadership reflection time. In this time ask yourself some of the following questions:

• What’s needed from me now? This might be related to a specific situation or individual or in your role.
• What feedback have a received recently?
• What feedback should I seek out?
• When did a have a strong emotional response? What
• What skills, qualities or characteristics are my strengths that I can leverage even more?
• Given where I want to go as a leader, where do I need to stretch or grow?

Want to avoid extinction?

Have you found yourself stuck in your ways?

What changes or new situations are you facing?

If you or your people are avoiding Difficult Conversations join us on our FREE Masterclass “How to have Difficult Conversations in the Workplace.” Reserve your spot NOW here

What’s the Problem? You’re not Discussing the Problem!

What’s the Problem? You’re not Discussing the Problem!

Are you putting off having a difficult conversation?

Have you avoided talking to someone because you were scared to do it or afraid of their reaction?

Has someone complained to you about another person, instead of talking to the person directly?

You’re not alone.

80% of people are shying away from at least 1 difficult conversation at work according to a poll from VitalSmarts¹. If you read that statistic and thinks that can’t be right, here’s another research result. According to Inc.², 7 in 10 employees are avoiding difficult conversations with their boss, colleagues, and direct reports. Other studies show similar results, the clear majority of people avoid having conversations with other people. I sidestepped these talks in my corporate life sometimes, it felt too awkward to face things head on. My coaching clients often label these “Difficult Conversations.” Funnily, when we label them difficult, they often become difficult, even if just in our minds.

What’s the definition of a difficult conversation? It’s a conversation where differences appear to exist between the people; needs, wants, expectations or opinions might differ; emotions are heightened; or there’s a fear of emotions coming into the situation. They are difficult because of the emotional element.

The problem goes further than just avoiding having the “difficult” conversation; people go to extreme lengths to avoid it! That same VitalSmarts’ research reported people waste time and energy to dodge those conversations, to the point of quitting their jobs!

Instead of having that difficult conversation, people will:

• Avoid the other person at all costs (50%)
• Dance around the scary topic whenever they speak to the person in question (37%)
• Consider quitting their job or taking a different job (37%)
• Quit their job (11%)

HRMorning³ reported of an online poll that found 85% of people have problems dealing with a problem in the workplace immediately. What they did instead of dealing with the problem was:

• ‘ruminate’ about the issue (61%)
• complain to co-workers about it (41%)
• feel angry (34%)
• do extra/unnecessary work to avoid dealing with the issue (32%)
• avoid the person involved (29%)
• ‘talk around’ the topic (24%)
• feel sorry for themselves (20%), and
• drop hints to the individual involved (20%).

None of these things are productive, in fact they are counter-productive, negatively affecting productivity.

If people are avoiding the other person or dancing around topics, how productive is this in the workplace? Collaboration and interaction are needed in most jobs to deliver the required business results. If someone is avoiding another person because of a difference in opinion or expectation, is the business getting the best results? Are people contributing their best ideas and coming up with the best solutions? The answer most certainly is NO. If people are quitting their jobs to avoid these conversations, what’s the cost in recruitment fees alone? There must be a better way.

Good news – there is a better way. Stay tuned.

¹ Reported in Crucial Learning by Brittney Maxfield October 2019
² Inc. Most People Handle Difficult Situations by Ignoring Them — and the Fallout Isn’t Pretty by Michael Schneider August 2018, research by workplace resource start-up Bravely.
³ HRMorning: The hidden cost of delaying those ‘difficult conversations’ by Tim Gould 2010

Photo by Yan Krukov

What do you want to do with your one wild & precious life?

What do you want to do with your one wild & precious life?

I was reminded recently of this line from the poem, The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver. We do only have one wild and precious life, which is a big lesson from the last 2 years (don’t worry this isn’t article about the pandemic).

Think back to a time that you amazed yourself. When you surprised yourself with something you could do or something you achieved. Pause here because I’m sure there’s at least one thing, and probably lots of things, where you’ve gone outside your comfort zone or what you thought you were capable of. It might be something you trained or prepared for, it might be something that happened spontaneously. I invite you to stop reading and reflect please – a moment for which you are proud of yourself.

It might be running a race, having given birth (a friend’s contemplating this as her due date looms ever nearer), landed your dream job, created works of art, gone open water swimming in winter (that’s on my weekend’s agenda, crikey) or solved a Wordle in only two tries (I think first try is just a fluke).

For me it’s having written and published my book! I’m acknowledging it because it’s the two-year anniversary of its launch. My how time flies. More time will fly by, what do you want to create for your wild and precious time?

I didn’t set out to write a book. I took a 10-day book proposal writing challenge offered by a book coach to see if my idea for a book had any merit. After 10-days my completed proposal excited me, ignited the possibility of a book, motivated me to think “what if?” The book coach, a brilliant marketer as well, offered me a discounted book writing boot-camp course. I took that and never turned back. In some ways I just followed her process which lead me to the professionally edited, first draft of a book, my book.

Two years later I am an award-winning published author, gobsmacked to write that. I don’t say it to brag. I say it as evidence you too can do something you didn’t plan on or think you could. The next two years are going to pass regardless of whether you create something wild and precious or not, so what if?

Do you ever imagine what if?

Are you wondering is this it or what’s next?

What’s one thing you’d dare to dream of for yourself?

Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how to help set yourself up for greater success and satisfaction next year.

Setting Annual Goals? How To and Why It’s Important.

Annual Goal Setting? How To and Why It’s Important

Executives and managers are talking about annual objectives for next year. I’m working with a leadership team on their kick-off for the year – aligning behind the strategy, goal setting, and identifying tactics to achieve those goals. I’ll also be working with my business partner on our goals for next year – both as individuals and as business partners. We’ve been defining our vision and annual objectives together for years now.

This exercise is appropriate for work or life goals, for organizations or individuals.

Why Is Goal Setting Important?

You might be wondering what all the fuss is about in terms of annual objective setting. Why should you bother? Here are a few reasons why having goals and objectives is important:

• Gives us something to measure performance and success against,

• Creates accountability within ourselves and externally if necessary,

• Helps organize time and resources in a consistent direction,

• Focuses all involved towards a specific area,

• Provides motivation and a sense of achievement,

• Triggers new behaviours,

• Grows confidence as we progress towards them, not just when we achieve them,

• Promotes positive mental health.

Year End Review

If you didn’t read my previous blog about conducting a year end review, do that step first by clicking here, Annual Goals? Step #1 is Conducting a Year End Review. It’s hard to decide where you are heading if you don’t know where you are currently!

How to Set Annual Goals

These initial questions are different than your typical business projection exercise or creating a list of ‘to-dos’ (there are less creative questions/more direct at the end 😉). The idea is to envision success and then work backwards to identify what needs to be done to achieve it. This is how most organizations do their vision to goals process. Be specific about your goals – think about how you will measure your achievement of them as well as what they are.

• Imagine it is January 2023 (yes, one year further in the future). Reflect back on the past year, what would make you proud to have accomplished? Think of all aspects of work and life. This focuses on the DOING of the year, what you do and what you accomplish.

• From that vantage point of January 2023, looking back on an incredibly fulfilling and successful year. Feeling that pride and satisfaction, write a letter telling the story of how you made it happen. Write it as though your accomplishments were in the past, avoiding statements like “I will” or ‘I intend”. Get as specific as possible including your insights, ‘ahas’ (learnings), and milestones. Who did you become? How do you feel? Make it as exciting and vivid as possible. This focuses on how you are BEING during the year, how you feel and engage, how you want to BE to achieve what you want to achieve.

• What work goals do you want to accomplish? What are your boss’ goals and hence which cascade down to your area of responsibility?

• What are your financial goals for the year? How much do you want to make? What effort is required to do that? What investment or retirement or spending priorities do you have for the year?

• What relationships at work and personally do you want to create or foster?

• How do you want to feel physically, emotionally, spiritually?

• What aspects of your health are important to continue or improve?

• What personal qualities do you want to lean into more?

• What are you willing to give up to achieve your goals? Rarely do people look at ‘subtraction’ when they consider a change and it’s often a necessity. In today’s life you’re already busy with lots to do so don’t think about just adding more on. Think about how you can simplify. And what you give up might need to be a belief or mindset?

My goals for next year will be defined specifically on 7th January when I do our annual goal setting/’way of being’ exercise with my business partner. Some on my list to be fleshed out will be:

• Getting my award-winning book out to more people as the stories about how it’s helped people are so satisfying for me, win-win (number and ways of doing that tbd in January),

• Delivering our EQ Leadership Training to more companies (specific # tbd with my partner),

• Having even more fun and laughter in my life,

• Continuing my walking challenges, with one being more of a long-distance, multiple days walk in the countryside,

• Keeping up my French language lessons to hit 800 consecutive day learning streak.

If time and money were no object, what would your goals be for 2022?

What support would help you to achieve it, or some initial part of it?

What small step could you take towards that goal?

Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how to help set yourself up for greater success and satisfaction next year.

 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels