April 2

Life is a mission… and I am on a mission

Life is a mission… and I am on a mission

People often ask me how I manage to accomplish so much, given my busy life and career. I often ask myself the same question, when I am reflecting upon how far I have come in  life. As well as working, I managed to complete a Masters degree last year, have learned bass guitar to the point where I can play in a band with professional musicians, have a large garden/allotment, run my own business and still find time to write blogs and articles for magazines and journals.

From the perspective of fitting lots of things into a 7 day week, it looks daunting… however, if you change the perspective you get a sense of how it works. Everything I do I am passionate about and give 110%. However I am also deeply curious and have a life long love of learning. Hence I find ‘newness’ and challenge energising. Also, when I have 10 minutes down-time instead of slouching in front of the television or computer, I will pick up the guitar and do some practice on that riff that I am not yet quick enough on. When you are doing things you love, it doesn’t seem tiring – of course I do like to chill out with a beer on a Saturday evening like everyone else! I don’t consciously plan everything I do in a day, though I have been told I am incredibly well organised… but I do find that the old adage is true “a change is as good as a rest”.

Instead of asking me how I manage to pack so much into a day, perhaps you should ask yourself what you are doing with your time? What could you change (do more/less of) that would increase your satisfaction with life? Everything can be changed and if you don’t feel you are accomplishing what you could be with your life, take a long hard look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Change takes effort and so does success.

March 20

You don’t have to love a deal…

You don’t have to love a deal…

Many years ago, I was negotiating a contract renewal with a large software supplier. Towards the end of the process, there were a number of ‘deal breakers’ that had to be resolved before the deal was acceptable from the client perspective (mine). This is not unusual as it is rare a deal is perfect for either customer or supplier “out of the box”.

We did all the things that you’d expect – wheeled in the Board Execs and traded blows in tough conversations, slowly edging towards some sort of compromise commercials that we could agree upon. Eventually we ended up at a point where the deal was about 90% there but there were elements of the compromise required to close it that were unpalatable for both parties.

March 12

Moving forward…

Moving forward…

When I speak to coaching colleagues, they often share experiences with clients where the client KNOWS they need to change, but they still cling on to current situations and behaviours. This is even though they are fully aware that these are not good for them, may be getting in the way of their dreams and are creating issues in their work and private lives.

Why is this? Nobel winning Psychologist Daniel Khanemann would describe client behaviour as exhibiting loss Aversion and Status Quo Bias. Simply put, this is about change. People appear to focus more on the negative aspects of change rather than the positive benefits, irrespective of their current situation and the circumstances that gave rise to it or the significant pluses of change. Viewed in this way it means that clients stay where they are because of fear of where change will take them. This is often expressed in terms of impact of them changing on other people… such as, my friends may not like me anymore.

You cannot change the past, the future isn’t here yet, so all you can deal with is the here and now. Approached in this way, a client may talk to their friends about change and gain some really interesting perspectives. They may also be pleasantly surprised that their friends cite qualities that they are admired for, that the client was unaware of. This would certainly take the fear of change head on with the client taking responsibility for themselves. The alternative is that the client is a passenger in their own life, watching events unfold and wondering why they feel powerless to make a better future for themselves.

When change knocks, forget what lies behind and embrace the possibilities of what lies ahead. If opportunity doesn’t knock…. you know what to do… build a door!

February 26

Changing Thinking

Changing Thinking

Einstein famously said “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them”.

This is as true in life as it is in Physics. We all have to find our own path to follow. However it is easier to challenge your own thinking, gain a different perspective and find a guide for the path when you work with a coach.

What problems do you have that you cannot resolve because you are stuck in your own thinking? How are you going to change this?

February 4

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths & Weaknesses

One of the keys to good self-evaluation is to be able to honestly consider your strengths and weaknesses.

Brainstorm a list of your strengths and the tasks or skills you enjoy the most. Feeling good? Then take a few deep breaths, let go of your ego and emotions, and take an honest look at areas where you could improve.

Improvement areas might include time management skills, speaking in front of groups, leading projects or even improving processes. Consider feedback you’ve received from others during the year and think about any areas where you’ve struggled or felt you could have done better.

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