Tag Archives: challenge

Resilience Alphabet – P is for Pause and Praise

All over the country last night, as has become a national habit, people were clapping for those who are seeking to look after us in many ways during this time. As in all times of crisis, there are many hidden heroes and in your own way you may be one of them, quietly getting on with something important, and something that needs to be done.

Today in terms of personal resilience I want to encourage you to Pause for a different reason: to take the time to consider how you have fared over the last three weeks; to recognise those things you have done that have strengthened your resilience and to recommit to making some of them a daily habit. In times of high stress, we need to practise habits of high self-care, as there are so many possibilities for having our energy and resources zapped! So pause and form a new commitment to what you know enables you to take a break from all that is happening.

And turning to the second word, I wonder how readily you give praise, and how readily you receive praise. Today’s mission is to find or better still create opportunities to say thank you to the many people who are making your life brighter during these times when we are all adjusting to new ways of living our life. Maybe you can even set yourself a target of 5 or 10 people you want to acknowledge and thank for how they are making a difference to you during this time.

So as you Pause and set good habits for your self-care, and seek opportunities to praise and thank people for a jobs large and small, be kind to your too and as always Stay Safe.

Resilience Alphabet – O is for Openness

If I had been asked to write an article called “A week in the life of an Executive Coach” a few weeks ago, I imagine it would have been very different to the one I would write if I were to focus on the last three weeks. The scale of the challenges clients are facing, the speed of change, and the need to make critical decisions with wide-ranging consequences have never been experienced by most of us in our lifetime.

Some of you will know that I am accredited in Conversational Intelligence®, the work of Judith Glaser, which looks amongst other things at how we build trust as human beings through the openness and transparency of our conversations. That work has never been more relevant than it is today.

In terms of personal resilience one of the best things we can do right now from a well-being point of view is be open about (1) how we are today, (2) what we are feeling, and (3) what our hopes and plans are for going forward. This degree of openness comes more naturally to some than others. Some will immediately go into thoughts when we ask them how they are feeling. The answer to the feeling question is best described in one word. If we spent just a fraction of the time we spend on media input on being open with each other and ourselves we would release some of the personal pressure we are all feeling.

In my work with clients I often say of difficult thoughts and feelings that “it is better out than in”, that is, it is better to be expressed. Whether that is releasing these thoughts and feelings through talking it out, writing it out, exercising it out or whatever. Letting the steam out a little at a time is way more helpful than holding it in until it explodes.

It is not brave to ignore the elephant of fear and threat that is in the room. Courage is acknowledging it and working together to navigate the current situation in spite of it. Take care today to ensure that as you listen to the feelings of others, you are open about what you feel too. Be open, and as always stay safe.

Is your confidence drooping?

Drooping Poppy

Drooping Poppy

If you were to take a reading of your confidence right now – what word would describe it? I love poppies and we are loving the wild garden that has been planted directly across from our house.  However, this particular poppy reminded me of what happens when confidence is eroded, so I decided to write this post about the six factors that can erode confidence.  These confidence stealers were identified in my research a few years ago.  Are you experiencing any of them?

1. Other people’s negativity.  We all know how draining it can be to spend time with people who are either negative about themselves, the world, everyone they talk about, and You!  It’s easy to ‘catch’ some of this negativity for ourselves.  So keep a watching brief on the people you spend time with.  Challenge the negativity, and if it feels contagious take a step back if you can.

2. Excessive challenge. Challenge and stress are a necessary part of life and some of us thrive on challenge.  However, even for those who love nothing more than a complex and demanding challenge, our bodies are not designed to live under the umbrella of excessive challenge.  In a book published some years ago called Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers, Robert Sapoisky spells out in clear terms what happens in our bodies when we are under excessive unrelenting challenge.  It is not a happy picture.

3. An unrealistic workload.  Sometimes our unrealistic workload and expectations of ourselves are set by ourselves and sometimes set by others.  Either way, an unrealistic and unrelenting workload will result in us feeling that we are never achieving enough, never at the end of what we have to do, and generally feeling we are not succeeding.  And what reward does our confidence (and our bodies) get for completing a task… another one!

4. Lack of control.  I have yet to find the person who is completely comfortable when they and everything around them is out of control.  Feeling out of control is just that – a feeling.  Feeling in control gives us a great sense of confidence, feeling completely out of control is a scary place.  Of course, we need a dose of realism about what we can actually control, but the more we have a sense of control over our main life choices the more confident we are likely to be.

5. Feeling negative about yourself and assuming other people feel the same.  This one is for all those people out there who can be pretty tough on themselves, feeling they are ‘never’ good enough, clever enough, smart enough, talented enough, never could do a great job or be the star.  This is an unhelpful trend and really saps at any sense of confidence – it is compounded greatly when we put everyone else in our own negative viewpoint.  We have no idea what they are thinking unless we ask.  We leads to the next confidence stealer.

6. Lack of feedback.  There is good evidence to suggest that if we are not getting feedback we default to feeling that any feedback given would be critical.  There is no evidence for this of course. Perhaps you can test this by asking for some feedback from someone you trust to be honest and helpful.

Check out your own confidence level, and have a good look to see if any of the six factors are impacting on you right now.  Self awareness is the beginning of taking steps to revitalise your confidence and stop the droop.  What areas do you need to think about, challenge or change in order to give your confidence a better chance of blooming?

These are six of the stealers identified in my experience.  Are there any others you’d like to share?  In next week’s Blog, I’ll write about the factors which increase confidence.  Look out for that next Friday.