Creating habits that allow you to shift your mood is beneficial
for you and those close to you.
Knowing when you're in a slump and having strategies to
lift your spirits not only helps you, but has a ripple effect on
those around you.
It’s fair to say the last 20 months have been full of ups and downs, a lot of negative news and
tough times, particularly for those that have endured long lockdowns, separation from those
they love, illness or lost a loved one.
When we experience such upheaval for a long time it’s easy to settle into a new mindset
which has a negative focus – even when we’ve never done that before.
Here’s 7 simple and effective strategies that you can do every day that will shift your mindset and
help you feel more positive. And . . . best of all they take only a few minutes so anyone can do it.
1. Exercise gratitude
Create a habit of being thankful for three things each morning and night.
Focus on the positive things in your life, no matter how small they may be.
In the southern hemisphere we are in Spring and heading into summer. Be grateful for the weather, the sun, the clouds in the sky, the birds chirping.
Create a morning and/or evening routine where you think, say or write down three (or more)
things you’re grateful for eg:
Carving out special time for yourself, even as little as 5 minutes per day, will allow you to switch off
Create a routine where you do something you love. Build this into your day when it suits you,
in the morning, at lunch time, straight after work, just before dinner or even before bed.
This is your time and can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as you want. The important
thing is consistency – create a routine where you can have your own “not negotiable time”
every day and let your family know that it’s “your time”.
It could be 10 mins of mindfulness, a 45 min run, sitting in the sun watching the world go by,
a yoga class, watching a quick you tube clip that makes you laugh, reading or watching TV
– whatever works for you in your schedule.
3. Reconnect with those close to you
Now that restrictions are easing, make a conscious choice to reconnect with those close to you.
Give them a call, catch up for a drink, lunch or dinner or catch up in a park and have a picnic.
Or plan an online trivia night or games night where friends can come over and play cards,
charades, Pictionary or board games.
4 . Set up a sleep routine
Establish a good night time routine that works for you. It could be as simple as having a calming
cup of tea, showering, brushing your teeth, listening to 5 minutes of mindful meditation or
reading a book before turning off the light.
If possible, remove electronic devices from your room and if not, turn them on to airplane mode
or put on a do not disturb during your sleep time.
5. Reflective exercises
Recall one good thing that happened today or that made you smile and whilst you’re remembering
it, give a gentle nod to the world to say ‘thanks’.
One of the easiest ways to reset and regain control is to breathe consciously.
Now just focus on your breathing and as you do:
7. Disconnect from media
The more you focus on something the
more you’re attracting that into your life.
So reduced the deluge of pandemic
information flooding in.
Stop watching the news all day and checking
for the latest updates. If there is something
important happening, someone will tell you.
If you feel a strong need to keep up to
date with the news, set yourself a regular
time to check the headlines or chat
with a friend each day instead of having
it constantly on your feed or on the TV.
Images from unsplash: Aubin A Sadiki & Joel Muniz
Leadership in life comes in all forms. What is common is that we
all must lead ourselves, we make decisions for ourselves each
and every day. What time to get up, what to eat, what to wear,
who to engage with, what we feed our bodies, soul and minds.
It's all about leading yourself first.
Understanding and leading yourself first is important in life and needed
so we can fulfil our our needs and then be able to help and lead others.
Whether that's our family, friends, pets, social or community groups
or at work.
Understanding and leading yourself first establishes a strong foundation for living a fulfilled life.
I am honoured to be included in this article with other amazing coaches and leaders.
Click the button below to see the full article.
Sometimes we look at others and think they are born with an inherent
trait that they are a genius, something given only to a special few who,
those that we know about because they are celebrated publicly. The
likes of inventors, billionaires, Nobel Prize winners and other public figures
come to mind.
“Accept and acknowledge your own brilliance.
Stop waiting for others to tell you how great you are!
Believe it for yourself and about yourself".
We all have hidden greatness and brilliance inside us. Too often we overlook
just how great we are. Think about at time when you had a brilliant idea,
a genius moment – a time when you miraculously came up with the solution
to a problem or found a new way of working to overcome a set back?
If we don’t actively remember the problem-solving skills we have, they will
go dormant. When this happens, we forget how brilliant we can be and we
rely on others around us to problem-solve, or worse, we dwell in the pity of
“I don’t know”.
We all have innate ability, strengths and talents – but we don’t all use them to
their full potential.
Here’s some tips on how to develop your inner brilliance again and tap into your unique skills, knowledge, talents and capabilities.
1. Activate your positivity
Is your cup half full or half empty? How you view the world will have an
impact on what you do.
If you are looking for problems, and focussing on what can go wrong, guess
what, that’s what you’re going to see.
If you embrace a positive approach to things and have an “optimism bias”
you will be looking for ways to make it work, opportunities will arise because
you will be open to seeing them.
Having an optimistic approach doesn’t mean there is no problem – it means
you see it differently because your mind is solutions focused and therefore
you will look for favourable outcomes or silver linings in times of challenge and difficulty.
The problem will still be the problem, but your focus is on the solution so the
issue is less important because the solution is the way forward. This means you
will take action; you will do things to change the situation to move you past the problem.
Using a positive approach means you’re looking for the best in each situation, focussing on what you can control and letting go of that which you can’t. You
look for ways to improve the situation and take the lessons learnt from it.
Next time you’re faced with a problem – stop and think about your natural response – is it to focus on the problem or the solution? If you’re naturally
inclined to focus on the problem make a determined effort to be solutions focussed, and go find others that are likeminded in finding a solution and
see how different it feels.
2. Trigger your curiosity
Curious minds are always looking for new and different ways of doing. They see something and wonder how it could be made better
or easier. They see a problem and ask themselves; how can I go about solving
this? Is there an easier way to do this? Who can I talk to and bounce some
ideas off? There must be a better way, I just need to find it.”
Look at situations and search your mind for new possibilities. Be curious about
life, question the status-quo, ask “why do we do it this way”, suggest others
ways of doing “what if we could….”
All too often we ‘go with the flow’, but having a curiosity approach means you
can ask and question as to why, what and how this came about.
Using this approach, you may easily stumble across a new or better way of
doing that no-one has thought of because they have accepted the old
premise of “that’s how we’ve always done things”.
Using a curious approach allows your brain to think differently and engages with others to create divergent thinking – it helps us step out of the normal way we operate and activates different parts of our brain.
Next time you’re facing a challenge, grab some paper and write down all of the options or ways that this problem can be approached. Do this freely and openly without any filters or fears.
Write down (or draw) all possible solutions with a mindset that there is no right
r wrong, there are only ideas. Your idea by itself may be the way forward or
that one word or sentence may spark brilliance in someone else and your idea
is the seed that gets things moving.
There is always more than one answer to a problem, so do this exercise freely, openly and abundantly.
3. Get out of your rut
Humans love their comfort zone! In fact, our subconscious mind wants to
keep us in our comfort zone.
We form habits and routines quickly and they can be hard to break. What
habits have you formed that are no longer serving you?
Doing the same thing every day will feel safe, but it means you are operating
in a semi-conscious state, you are not experiencing life around you because
you’re walking around on auto-pilot. (I know you know what I mean).
When we’re in that state we are not using our brains, we are not seeing what is going on around us, we are not open to new stimuli and we can miss wonderful opportunities.
Do you take the same route to work every day? Do you have the same routine at lunch time, do you eat the same lunch every day? Do you have the same routine after work and when you get home?
How’s that working for you? Do you feel stimulated and alive or do you feel
like you are just surviving?
Make a conscious choice to do something different, take a different route to
work – walk the other way around the block to get into the office, catch a
bus home instead of the train, go for a walk before dinner, make one day a
week a “no TV day” and do something different instead of plonking down in
front of the TV. Try something new and notice how different it makes you feel.
4. Live life with Intent
Do you set intentions and have goals for what you want to achieve or do you
just meander through life, one day at a time, take it as it comes?
Setting intentions is a great way to stimulate your mind and step into your brilliance.
Our minds are extremely powerful and if you think you “can” or you “can’t” achieve something – you are correct! Yep, that’s right. Whatever you tell yourself, your mind will look for ways to prove you right.
So now is the time to take control and program your thoughts and create
the future you want. Set your intentions, and do this often and regularly. It is recommended that you sit down and setting your intentions for what you
want to achieve in the next six months – where do you want to be, what do
you want to be different in six months’ time from now?
Create a list write down WHAT you want and WHY you want it. What is the
driving reason for what you want?
Setting your intentions allows your brain to focus and focussing on achieving something means you will be projecting with positivity and looking for ways
to make it happen.
Once you have your six-monthly target, break that down into monthly targets.
In order to get to X in six months, what are six key milestones you need to
hit – one each month to know that you are on track to achieving that
Then look at the target for month one – only look at the first milestone –
that one-month mark. Then break that down in to weekly steps. What do
you need to do each week to achieve that first monthly milestone? Then break
that down into daily activities.
These daily activities should be simple, easy steps for you to achieve – one small thing each day, that’s all, just one small thing each day.
Then each night before you go to bed, look at your list, tick off the activity that
you accomplished today, be thankful to yourself that you achieved it and go to
be focussing on the one thing you are going to achieve tomorrow. That’s it,
focus on one day at a time.
This approach of breaking things down into daily activities allows your brain
to understand that it can achieve it because it is one small step. Continue to
focus on the next day and that one step and by doing this you will achieve
your bigger goal.
5. Laugh and have fun
In today’s world we can get too serious. Laughter is important in your life, it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
As adults we can get too caught up in our many responsibilities and we can
forget to have fun. Without fun and laughter our stress levels build up, but
do not release and this can cause physical and mental health issues. Laughter
and fun are a natural part of who we are and they are the “pressure relief valve”
Adopting a mindset of creating laughter and fun in our lives means we will feel better and our communication with others will improve because we will be less stressed and our mind will be open to creating brilliance.
As a leader, I know that when I hear laughter in the office, I know my team is functioning healthy. Laughter should be part of each and every day as it:
boosts immunity; lowers stress; decreases pain, relaxes you; prevents
heart disease; relieves stress, improves your mood, strengthens resilience,
adds joy to life; strengthens relationships, enhances teamwork and creates
When we were kids, we laughed and played and sometimes spent hours
focussing on one thing, building a sand castle, drawing, Lego, creating model planes, reading, skipping, climbing a tree, but as we got older these fun
things were replaced with jobs and other tasks that we needed to do because
we now have responsibilities. All of these activities are mindful activities and so important for our mental health.
Practicing mindfulness increases your ability to activate and use the pre-frontal cortex region of your brain more, which strengthens the connections between areas associated with attention and concentration. In one office I worked in, we had A3 size colouring pages spread around the office with coloured pencils.
We encouraged staff to take a few minutes each day as they were walking
past to stop and focus on colouring in the image. In another office I worked
in we did a similar thing with jigsaws; we had a couple of jigsaws around the
office and this encouraged people to take a time out and focus on something different than their normal work. Both of these activities allowed staff to have
a quick mental break, increased communication, created strong bonds and laughter in the office as people shared their experiences together.
Encourage your team to laugh and to share ideas with each other. Encourage them to take a break and ‘reset’. Stepping away from the busyness of work and taking a break rejuvenates creativity and ultimately helps you achieve more because you return to work with a fresh approach.
Distancing yourself from work periodically allows you to achieve more rather
than slugging it out at something for hours on end without a break. It is
advisable to take a short break every hour or 90 minutes.
Next time you are feeling drained or stuck, step away from your desk, practice something mindful, stretch and go for a walk to refresh and reinvigorate yourself.
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” ~ Russell Eric Dobda~
Use these five tips to ignite your brilliance and notice the difference it has on you, your colleagues and those close to you.
Look for the positive in all situations, be curious, encourage ideas, mix things up, set your intentions and most of all have fun.
“You are unique. You have different talents and abilities.
You don’t have to always follow in the footsteps of others.
And most important, you should always remind yourself
that you don't have to do what everyone else is doing and
have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given.”
~ Roy T. Bennett~
The question is - what are you doing to tap into and develop your uniqueness?
A coach can help you do this, if you want to know more, DM me and we can
set up a free 15-minute discovery call.
What is something that you have never considered doing?
I want you to imagine that I am a Genie who has just appeared and I’m going to grant you 3 wishes.
But……. these 3 wishes have to be something you’ve never thought of doing before.
And no matter what you wish for, this wonderful Genie can and will make it happen for you.
Think about it and ………..GO!
What are your 3 wishes?
Did you find that task easy or hard?
Consider what made it that way?
Are you able to just create new things that you want to do or did
you really struggle to come up with things, even though you
knew the Genie could make it happen?
If you struggled with this exercise, your hidden limiting beliefs may be stopping you. This is normal,
we all have them and the thing is, we don’t even know that we have them – that’s why they are
hidden and that’s what makes them Limiting Beliefs.
Everyone has a limiting belief of some sort and if you think you don’t have a limiting belief, your
limiting belief is that you don’t think you have any.
Limiting beliefs are those things you instinctively believe about yourself that place limitations on
your potential and ability. They are buried deep in our sub/unconscious mind and they pop up or
creep in to stop us doing things.
Some examples of limiting beliefs are:
What makes us think these things? Our life experiences do!
Yep, we form these beliefs based on the environment around us. Just because someone once told
you that you weren’t good at something, doesn’t necessarily make it true.
If you were told as a young person that you “can’t do something” or that “you are no good at that”,
of course you’re going to grow up believing that – but you may not even know that you believe it.
It may be hidden so deep in your mind that you never recall anyone ever saying that to you, but
chances are, someone probably did, a very long time ago.
Likewise, if you grew up and someone told you that you were amazing at ……. (drawing, art,
story telling, music, sport, etc ), then you will enter into those activities with energy and
enthusiasm because your powerful sub/unconscious mind believes it to be true.
Limiting beliefs are assumptions, that’s all. They are assumptions that sit deep in our
sub/unconscious mind and they influence how you think and act, a lot of the time without you
even realising it.
What limiting beliefs do you hold about yourself?
What are they stopping you from doing?
You can change if you want to, you can change that pattern of thinking by identifying and
changing those limiting beliefs.
As a coach, nearly all of my clients work on changing limiting beliefs, I use gentle but
powerful processes that can help you do this and I’m there to guide you on your journey.
If you want to change, reach out to an NLP Coach and work with them to change your limiting
beliefs and allow yourself to step forward and explore with a more open mind so you can work
towards your goals and dreams.
What’s your general outlook on life?
Are you a cup half full or half empty? Or maybe your cup might have a hole in it and all the good
stuff just slips through and you don’t even notice it?
When things don’t go as planned do you only see the problem, the negative in the situation or do
you look for a positive?
Your mind is very powerful, so if you “think you can” or you “think you can’t” – you are right!
You are right because your mind will prove you right.
Your thought process will cause you to view situations in either a positive or negative light.
And because of this, you will look for (and find) facts, situations, actions that “prove” your thought.
Remember: Positive anything is better than negative nothing.
Think about this scenario:
You’ve booked a holiday to a beautiful sunny place, one that is known for sun, sand and fun. You
know that place, that one, the one you’re thinking about.
Now imagine (just use your imagination now) how excited you are about your upcoming holiday.
Think about where you’ve booked in to stay, that hotel or air bnb, holiday park,
whatever accommodation you’d love to be staying in.
Think about the excitement for you and your family as you’re packing, going to the airport, landing
and getting off the plane in that holiday destination and you are really pumped and excited about
Then the day before you are due to fly out, you look at the weather forecast so you can see just how
warm and beautiful it is going to be on the day you land in your sunny vacation place.
And guess what? The weather forecast is for thunderstorms and rain for the next two days.
What do you do – where have your thoughts gone?
Have you responded with “oh that’s just great isn’t it, there goes our holiday, the first 2 days are
going to be rained out”.
Do you look for the positive, the silver lining?
Do you think “oh, that’s not so good, but let’s see what else we can do to explore this wonderful
holiday destination” and go searching for new stuff to do?
By looking at the positive you are looking for a solution to the rained out days and you’re not
dwelling on the negative.
This small shift in perspective means that you are in SOLUTION mode and not focussing
on the problem. You are looking for the positive in this situation.
You never know what you’ll find – you might just find a wonderful new experience that you
wouldn’t have come across had the weather been bright and sunny.
So when rainy, cloudy times come your way – are you going to look for the silver lining and see
what else you can do. Are you going to sit and wallow in the rain or are you going to dance in the rain?
It’s up to you – you do have a choice.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes” ~Mahatma Gandhi (Indian Leader)
What are you thinking? Are your current thought patterns helping you lead a life of fulfilment
and opportunity, or are they holding you back and keeping you on the hamster wheel?
Next time something doesn’t go to plan, be aware of your thoughts, catch them and see if they
are wallowing in the rain, or taking advantage of the rain and dancing in it? If your natural
approach is to see the worst case scenario, look for opportunities on how you can use this
unexpected turn of events into a learning or growth opportunity. Better still, how can you
use this situation to take you on an even better path than the one you had planned?
If you can’t see the silver linings in situations and you want to be able to, seek out a Coach
or NLP practitioner and work with them, they will be able to help you look for the silver linings
and find something good in challenging situations.
Do you look around and see others “being confident”, do you see them walk into a room and ooze confidence; everywhere you look there’s another person speaking confidently and you wonder how everyone around you is confident, but you’re not?
It’s likely that those people also have doubts, the same as you,
but they have developed their confidence and can evoke it when
they need to.
Confidence is not something you are born with or ‘have’. It is something you create.
Being confident boils down to you believing in yourself.
It’s that feeling you have that you know you can achieve whatever you set your mind too.
It comes from within and when you know how to tap into your inner belief of confidence, you will be able to do it at any time.
Having the ability to evoke your confidence doesn’t mean you’ll sail through life and all your problems will be solved. We all have bad moments or days or things that cause upset. But being confident is about trusting that no matter what happens (good or bad), you’ve got it. You’ll be able to handle the situation and learn from it.
Learning how to be confident allows you to push through and keep going at times when you feel
unsure or just want to give up. Being confident can help you in all areas of your life, work, personal, family, relationships, communicating with others and it helps you learn and continue to grow and develop.
Learning to be confident comes from self-belief and your ability to change your view or perception of what’s going on.
You respond by how you ‘feel’ about a situation, so if you can change your mood you can change your perception and you can ignite your inner confidence, which will change your response.
Let’s start by looking at your normal outlook on life.
1. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
What I mean by this is that we can have half a glass of juice in front of us and one person will see it as half full, whereas the other half empty.
This is an example of different perceptions of the same situation.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” (Sir Winston Churchill)
Change your perception, change your outlook, change your thought process and improve your confidence. Focus on the positive and see how your perception changes.
2. Do you give up easily?
When faced with a set-back what do you do? Do you give up or do you learn from the experience?
“You never fail until you stop trying” (Albert Einstein)
Confidence comes from the belief that you will succeed and you will, if you keep going.
When you start taking action in line with your goal, your mindset will focus on achieving that goal and your confidence will grow. Start believing that you can and you will notice your confidence growing.
Believing that you can be confident, will help you when things don’t quite go according to plan, it will keep you focused on the goal, you will learn from experiences or set-backs, take those learnings, reapply and keep moving forward with the confidence that you will succeed.
“If you think you can or you think you can’t – you will prove yourself right” (Henry Ford)
Your subconscious brain is very powerful, so if you tell it something, it will look for ways to make it happen.
Thinks positively, think confidently and your subconscious will navigate you towards those things and will look for the opportunities.
3. How to build confidence
When you look at others that you think are confident, what do you see, what do you hear?
Do you see them walking tall, taking strides “with confidence”, do you see them greeting others,
saying hello as they walk by, do you notice their voice, the sound and tonality is constant and confident?
If you want to be like them, start acting like them.
Notice how you walk. Do you walk tall and proud or do you slouch?
Are you making eye contact, nodding and greeting others or are you avoiding eye contact?
When you speak do you falter and doubt what is coming out of your mouth or do you trust that yourself and speak with certainty?
Change the way you project yourself to the world and change your internal belief.
Change your internal belief and the way you are seen in the world will change.
Stand up, stand proud and exude confidence – even if you have to pretend that you’re confident.
Your subconscious will pick up on your confidence even if your conscious mind is self-doubting.
Practice until it becomes second nature. Practice, practice, practice being confident and you will soon feel a shift inside, which will allow you to speak confidently and then others will see you as confident.
Like anything, the more you practice, the better you become and the better you become, the less you’ll have to practice because it will be just how you do things now.
Change your thought process and change your reality – believe that you are confident, act like you are confident and you will become confident.
Invest 15 minutes in yourself now and do this exercise:
Grab a paper and pen – yes, the old fashioned way of writing – it makes a difference to how you
respond to your thoughts if you capture them in hand writing.
Get into a quite space where you won’t be interrupted for 15 minutes.
Sit comfortably. Take a deep breath in and out – releasing any tension or doubt as you breath out.
Now close your eyes and imagine now, only imagine what your life would be like if you were confident. Take a minute to really see that in your mind, think about what it would be like, feel that confidence inside you, listen to what you’re saying to yourself.
When you’ve done that, write this down:
If I was acting confidently I would ………….. (answer this with whatever comes to mind - just start writing)
Think about what this means for you and answer these questions:
If I was being confident......
I would be doing......
I would be saying to myself......
I would be feeling.....
What would you be seeing differently?
What would others around you be saying about you?
Now take 2-5 minutes and wildly write down your unfiltered thoughts. Write down whatever comes
to mind – no-one else is going to see this, so be true to yourself and just let it all come out.
Review what you've written and write down words or sentences that resonate with you around confidence.
Create an image of what you look like when you are confident (draw a picture – a stick figure – whatever comes to you – if you want, you can Google an image that resonates confidence for you).
Make an audio on your phone that you can play back to yourself using the words that you have written down that you associate with confidence.
Review that list, look at that drawing, listen to that audio 3 times a day, every day for the next 28 days.
Are you prepared to invest 5 minutes in yourself every day to review your list, drawing & audio for the next 28 days? If you are ready to make a change in your life and do this exercise, you will see how your confidence grows.
Let me know how you went.
If you’d like some support to build your confidence, reach out and get in touch with me.
Image by: Mateus Campos Felipe (unsplash)
Humans are tribal in their nature. We like to be part of a community and to have our tribe around us, which is great, but we also need to recognise and become self-reliant.
When we are young, we need others to provide for us, but as we get older, we naturally become independent – which is good. We can still hold connections to, and with our tribe, but we grow and become self-reliant. Well that is, most of us.
Some people go from relying on those that raised us, to relying on friends, partners or some other close relationship that they have in their life. As we grow and mature, we should be able to go through our day to day lives independently.
When I say ‘day to day lives’, I mean our every day actions and the way we live without trauma in our lives. When we experience trauma or when we are in a non-resourceful state, it is normal and needed to reach out and ask others for help and support.
Our modern society is creating an environment where there is a tendency to rely on others more than necessary.
In fact, some people continue to rely on, or seek gratification or acknowledgement from others in their everyday life for all of their life.
This happens unconsciously, but it has an effect on how we live our lives day by day. If you have not fully developed self-reliance, you may be relying on others for a variety of things and you may not even recognise that you're doing this.
How are you living your life? Do you seek approval of others, or rely on them for financial support, do you 'need' to be in a relationship to feel secure or confident?
Have you lost your sense of self? What if things could be different?
Learning how to be self-reliant and independent is part of becoming an adult. It’s OK to have people close to you, that you can rely on in challenging times. But as an adult you need to be able to fend for yourself and make your own decisions based on your needs. You are accountable and responsible for your decisions and actions.
When you are self-reliant, you are able to make decisions around your life, career, relationships, emotional wellbeing, personal believes, values and finances.
When you step into this ‘self’, it is extremely rewarding and empowering.
When you know that you are able to support yourself, make choices for you, and that you don’t need the approval of others. . . it is powerful.
You recognise that you can ask others what they think, but you don’t need their approval because deep down inside you know what is right and what you want to do.
Some people are stuck in a co-dependent or they may call it ‘comfortable’ state. Where they rely on others to make decisions, to tell them what to do, to support them. But are you truly happy in this state?
Stepping into independence and taking responsibility can be scary, because you’ve lived your life with others telling you, leading you or making decisions for you. That way it’s easier to blame them if something doesn’t work out. Why would you want to change?
Because with independence and self-reliance you can blossom and bloom. You can make decisions that you want, you can create the life that you’ve always dreamed of, you can respect yourself, love yourself and care for yourself. If you want to take responsibility for your decisions, you can do this. And, you can still have your tribe around you and keep those you want close to you.
Or you can try to imagine a life where you don’t make your own decisions. Try to imagine the rest of your life where you are reliant on someone else? Try now, to consider the rest of your life asking for permission to do something, or doing things to seek their approval or trying to fit in with others beliefs, values, their way of doing things?
Now think about how you can be responsible, how you have control of your life now.
Now that you are in the driver’s seat, you are deciding what car you will drive, what direction to go in, how fast you’ll drive, what turns you’ll take, will you take the scenic route or go up the highway because you need to be there quicker? Can you feel and see how empowering that is?
Being dependent on others means you don’t have control over these things in your life and can lead to emotional distress.
There is a way you can take control, you can teach yourself and learn how to be self-reliant.
You can develop yourself and seek help from others, from coaches, hypnotherapists, other healers, to help you unlock those blockages from inside you and open up the true, resourceful you.
Being responsible and taking ownership for YOUR LIFE, means accepting that you are great and you can do it. You can embrace the power to create your own future.
As Albert Einstein said: “the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting
a different result”.
I can help you:
If you’d like things to be different in your life, and you want to work with me to help you, now is the time to email or personal message me.
Success in leadership doesn’t come from reaching the summit, the level that you are aiming for, it comes from the journey on how you got there and what you left in your wake - that’s the true measure of leadership success.
So, how have you been leading lately in the new world of Covid-19?
Is your team dispersed and have you had to lead remotely? How’s that going for you?
Are you leading the way you want to? Are you hitting boundaries or having issues that you didn’t expect or anticipate?
Leading remotely highlights the importance of the fundamentals of leadership and how making sure these are in place can help you navigate any situation.
In my experience of coaching, training and being a leader there are a few non-negotiables to true, effective leadership.
The most important leadership essential is to develop trust – without trust you do not have a team and you are not a leader. Without trust there is no tribe, no connection and no collaboration.
But trust is an emotion, it is a feeling, it is a sensory experience. You cannot tell someone or direct someone to ‘trust’.
Trust has to be built, it has to develop and when it does you have a true sense of connection with each other. You will help and protect each other – you will do things for others instinctively because you know that they would do the same for you.
This aspect of leadership is the fundamental beginning of creating a team, a tribe, a
community and without trust, you cannot lead effectively. Without trust you will have infighting, people will keep to themselves, protect their patch, they won’t share or engage freely with others and this leads to teams being siloed, imploding, not delivering and can negatively affect individuals.
Authenticity is about being genuine and true. You will instinctively know if you are being authentic to yourself and to others.
Being authentic takes courage and not enough leaders show their true, authentic self, because to do so is scary and may leave them open to criticism.
If you can genuinely be yourself, the way you want to be, show your own unique style, in the face of what others are doing around you, if you can develop self-awareness and stand up for what you believe in, even in the face of adversity and even if it means you maybe criticised or ridiculed, then you will see others wanting to be on your team.
Being vulnerable allows others to relate and connect with us. Connectedness builds trust and tribes. Be authentic, be true, be vulnerable, and know that it’s ok to say “I don’t know” - you do not have to have all the answers. Give it a try and see the difference it makes.
3. Protect & Develop
What I mean by this is that if you are a ‘leader’ you need to look after your team. You need to safeguard them from others - you know what I mean, there will be someone that is ‘coming at you’ or your team and you need to be the one to take the blow.
Even if they have mucked up or not delivered something quite right. You need to be the one out front, the one weathering the storm, the one steering the ship. Instead of throwing them under the bus, you protect them from the unnecessary criticism or sarcasm.
You filter the message so that it comes through clearly on what you want done differently next time and you manage expectations and explain the level of quality that you expect and want. But you do it in a way so they learn, grow and develop, not be deflated and feel berated.
You can and should hold them accountable, but you do not criticise publicly – not even in a team meeting, you do it one on one with the intent of them learning from the experience and doing better next time. If a whole team has failed, do a post-implementation review and see where the issue was – discover it and learn together.
Develop your team so that they can be their best, then you can delegate to help them to grow even further. That means you will have time to look at ways that you can develop yourself, because you know that they have got the skills to do more, which releases you to take on new opportunities, to focus on the things that drive you, that inspire you, that interest you.
Always develop your team – that’s how you grow too. Remember that old saying “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Create that tide, so you can all rise with it.
As a leader, you are their protector, that’s part of your job as head of the tribe. You need to set the vision, to bring the troops together and in order to do that effectively you have to be prepared to give yourself to that tribe, to the team that are following you.
You have to create a safe environment, a sense of belonging, and you do this by protecting them from petty internal politics and harsh, unnecessary criticism. What I mean by this is that they know ‘you have their back’ at all times.
By protecting them doesn’t mean they are not accountable. It doesn’t mean they get away with not delivering, not meeting deadlines. It is the opposite.
You develop them by holding them accountable, by setting clear expectations, timelines and agree deliverables, you empower them to make decisions, you teach them to make principles-based decisions, not hide behind rules-based decisions.
Encourage them to experiment and learn and when things go wrong, it’s about how you deliver the message and how you encourage them to learn from their mistakes and their experiences.
Be upfront! Tell them what’s going on, as much as you can – especially if you are leading remotely. Keep the communication regular, clear and concise – use plain English and explain what’s happening. If there is a change occurring and there’s no change in the change, tell them that. Tell them that today’s update doesn’t have any more information than last time., that there hasn’t been any progress since last time we updated you but that you’re doing what you said you’d do, giving them a regular update, even if there’s no further information to share.
Don’t leave a void in communication – if you do, they will fill it with their own imaginations and it will be ‘worst case scenario’ for them. You can stop that from happening with regular communication.
At times, there will be some things that as a leader, you cannot or should not share.
If that’s the case and you get asked a direct question, tell them you can’t discuss it.
Bang! You’ve just been transparent with them and they will thank you and trust you for that.
If you try to ‘avoid the truth’, avoid answering or give them half an answer they will not trust you next time, so be honest and transparent about what’s going on.
Do you take time to reflect each day? Or are you too busy running around trying to get things done? Are you creating a false positive of thinking you’re being productive because you’re busy? Busy does not equal productive.
Creating a habit of reflection allows you to look at your day through the lens of ‘double loop learning’. Looking at it from the aspects of: What? So What? Now What? Why? – why is the deeper thinking and reflective piece. DoubleLoopLearning
Through reflection you can see what’s working well, what’s not and why.
You can capitalise on the things that are going well and you can review and amend your approach to those things that are not working, not progressing or just not giving you want you need.
Reflection is time well spent – taking 30 minutes each day – either at the beginning or end of your day – to reflect will allow you to learn from your experiences and approach things with new learnings and sometimes lessons learnt in hindsight.
Respect and treat others as you want to be treated.
Think about your career and who were the people in your life that you trust and respect?
Who is the best leader you’ve ever worked for or been around?
What made them great as a leader?
What traits did they demonstrate?
Now think about that leader that you couldn’t wait to get away from?
The one that every time you saw them you had a gut reaction, you wanted to turn away, you didn’t want to speak with or engage with them.
What was it about them that made you feel that way, think that way and see them in that way?
When you look back at your career, what do you want to see?
Do you only want to see that you achieved your highest goal?
That you got to CEO, you got to be captain of the team, you got to lead the church group – whatever your goal is, do you just want to look back and see that you’ve achieved that – even if it means leaving a trail of destruction behind you?
Looking back and seeing the disappointed faces of those that once followed you, but now don’t want to have anything to do with you?
Remembering those that you ‘stepped on’ to get to your goal? Those that you forgot about, pushed aside, took credit for their work or quashed their dreams so that you could look good or get that promotion?
Or do you want to be the leader that made a different in people’s lives?
The leader that lifted others up and that helped them be the best they could be?
Ask yourself these questions:
So, reflect now, reflect on how you are leading so far in 2020 – in these uncertain times, are you leading the way you want and should lead?
Or are there areas that you’d like to approach differently? Are you leading yourself and your team to the best of your ability or do you need support and assistance?
Through coaching and leadership development, I’ve been able to develop confidence and help leaders build their teams. If you’d like to find out more about this and to develop your confidence and ability as a leader, give me a call.
Tell me about your leadership experiences, what has worked for you?
The current Covid-19 environment is challenging in many ways. We all react differently to change and with varying degrees of restriction from country to country and state to state and even regions within states, it can leave us confused and uncertain.
Our world has been disrupted and we don’t know what the ‘new normal’ will be like. This disruption has impacted everyone in some way. Whether that be a change in how we work (working from home; social distancing etc), or whether that be as severe as losing your job or coping in Stage 4 Lockdown, with restrictions on how often and how long you can go outside, right through to curfews being decreed.
With this disruption brings fears, worries, uncertainties about ourselves, our families, our friends, our futures. We are learning to live with this uncertainty like we have never had to before. During times like this we need to remember to ‘check in’ on ourselves.
I have been coping quite well during the Stage 4 lockdown, I accepted the restrictions and curfews, I abided by the rules and regulations, limited when I had to go out for essentials, stayed home, did my one-hour exercise per day and thought all was well. That was until the Victorian Government announced the extensions to the Stage 4 restrictions. When I heard it, I thought, “OK, I’m doing alright, I’ll be OK”.
But…. as the day went on, I found myself getting angry and I didn’t really know why. After all, I’d accepted that I had to do my bit and stay home so that we can get on top of this pandemic. So, I checked in with myself and delved a bit deeper into what was going on for me. I discovered I was angry, not for myself, but because I’m seeing all the small business struggling and I’m hearing the hurt and pain that they are going through because they cannot open their doors. I’m hearing about those people that have had to walk away from years of building a small business and the heartache that they are going through. That’s what I was angry about.
Now that I understand my anger, I can address the fears and worries that come with it. I can manage my emotions so that I am in a better position cognitively to make decisions for myself and how I can support the local businesses in our area.
But if I hadn’t checked in with myself, that anger could have manifested in different ways. A couple of weeks ago I write an article on Coping In Uncertain Times and I went back and read that and took my own advice. https://www.helenluxford.com/blog/coping-in-uncertain-times
The Black Dog Institute Research identified that previous outbreaks of infectious disease have been known to have an impact on mental health of the population, for example, the SARS epidemic was associated with a 30% increase in suicide in over 65s and 29% of healthcare workers experienced probable emotional distress.
This is indicative of what can happen and highlights the need for heightened awareness around mental health. There is research, advertising and discussion around physical health, weight loss etc every day, but how often do we actually talk about our emotional state, our mental well-being?
We need to start these discussions and get them to be common practice amongst ourselves. A problem shared is a problem halved and that saying goes the same for expressing how we’re feeling emotionally. Sharing your emotional state with someone else helps you express how you’re feeling and being able to do that can help you talk things through, get and offer support to each other.
It is normal to feel anxious, sad, upset in the midst of a pandemic. Each of us will experience different feelings and emotions but some common responses include:
Whatever you’re experiencing, focus on yourself, and not on others. Your response to this situation is right for you, acknowledge how you are feeling and know that it is a valid response. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, seek some guidance and support – think about what will work for you, to help you in this situation.
Mental Health Care Plan
Think of your mental health care plan, like your teeth. You brush your teeth once or twice a day and that keeps them healthy and stops you from getting decay.
Your mental health is the same, you need to nurture yourself on a daily basis. So, work out how you’re going to do that. What will work for you? I have discovered that when I’m feeling ‘foggy’ or ‘overwhelmed’, that going for a walk – even as short as 10 minutes, helps me reset emotionally.
Another strategy that works for me is doing 5, 10, 15 minutes of mindful meditation. There are numerous free resources available on the internet for guided mindfulness – here’s a link to some of them: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=guided+mindfulness+meditation+
Think about what works for you and then plan that into your day, each and every day. The more you do it, the better you will feel and the better you feel, the more you will do it, until it becomes your new routine.
As humans we are tribal beings and need to be connected to a community, whether that be your family, friendship group, community group, local neighbourhood – whatever your group is, stay connected with them.
Remember that this too shall pass, but until it does and until we establish what the ‘new normal’ is, please look after yourself and those close to you.
I’d like to hear what you’re doing to reduce stress during the pandemic, so leave your comments below.
If you’re struggling and need some support, please reach out to a friend, a support network, a community organisation (listed below), your doctor or call 000 in an emergency.
https://www.lifeline.org.au/ 13 11 14
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ 1300 22 4636
http://www.mensline.org.au/ 1300 78 99 78
https://www.kidshelpline.com.au/ 1800 55 1800
https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/ 1300 659 467
How are you coping in the current environment?
Everyone will have their challenges that come with a pandemic and the restrictions we need to adhere to and some of us will cope better than others.
We are in times of change, and whilst the world figures out the ‘new normal’ in a Covid‑19 we need to understand ourselves and our responses to what is going on.
Do you remember what you were doing this time last year? No-one could have predicted such a life changing event. However, here we are.
With restrictions differing from country to country, state to state and even locations within states, it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. One thing is clear, that we need to adapt and adjust as this pandemic develops.
So how are you coping in these uncertain, changing times?
We know there will be a ‘new normal’ but we don’t know what that will look like. Leaders in different countries and states are navigating unchartered waters and whether we agree or disagree with their approach, we have to adjust to what is happening.
So let’s have a look at how you can do that.
Remember that you adjust to uncertainty everyday
You may not have realised it, but you do. No-one knows what tomorrow will hold and you cope with small changes in your life everyday eg: you run out of bread or milk, the train or bus is cancelled, you’re stuck in traffic and you can’t pick up the kids, get to the meeting on time, the hot water service blew up, the power company cut your power accidently etc.
Remember that you have adjusted in the past, so you’ve got the ability to do it. We just need to practice that ‘adjusting’ muscle and build it up to cope with bigger uncertainties such as Covid-19. The Australian Health Department has some good resources to help strengthen your muscles to adjust during Covid-19. https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/ongoing-support-during-coronavirus-covid-19/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions
Look at what you can control
Humans like predictability, structure and routine. We’ve been thrown into new ways of working, or for some, not working at all. This is a big adjustment, recognise this and allow yourself to work through how you can get some control back in your life.
Are you moping through each day and feeling sad?
Do you have a routine?
Set up a daily routine, like you had pre-Covid-19.
Get up at the same time each day, have a morning routine, breakfast, shower, exercise? Whatever it is for you – make it a routine that you do each morning.
If you’re still working and working from home – with or without kids at home, set up structure and routine around working and home schooling the kids.
Have dedicated time that you focus on one thing – either work or teaching the kids – not both at the same time.
Schedule in breaks – if possible, go outside and smell the air, hear the birds, feel the breeze on your face and the sun on your cheeks. Do something that emulates some sort of routine like you had before the restrictions were in place.
Evaluate your situation
Are things really as bad as you think they are? Are you making assumptions and then catastrophising about what ‘might’ happen?
In times of uncertainty our subconscious mind can become very active and influence our decision-making processes. Check in with yourself.
Now evaluate what’s on your list and how much you believe it will or won’t happen.
Look at what you’ve written down and notice if there are things on that list today, that you wouldn’t have thought of a year ago?
Have any of these assumptions come true?
Are there any on there that you want to reconsider your scores?
IF, you believe these assumptions will happen, what is within your control to mitigate or minimise any disruption on you? What can you put in place to help you?
During times of change we will have set-backs, that is normal. But it’s how you handle those set-backs that is important.
Recognise where you’re at and if you’re not at your best, work out what strategies you can do to lift yourself up just a little bit.
What is one thing you can do that you can control today?
Think of one thing that you can make a decision on today. It doesn't have to be a big thing, it just has to be something you can control eg: when you get up, when you go to bed, what to wear, what time you're going to have a shower etc.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure, do "box breathing"
Breath out for 4 seconds (empty your lungs)
Breath in for 4 seconds
Hold for 4 seconds
Breath out for 4 seconds
Practice this when you are overwhelmed and increase it to 5 seconds, then 6 and see how it helps you rebalance. https://www.healthline.com/health/box-breathing
Review your assumptions – are they helping or hindering you?
Change your focus by 1 degree and see things differently – look at things from a positive frame
(see table below).
The more you do this the more you build your ‘memory muscle’ to look at things from a positive perspective eg: is your cup half full or half empty?
Focus on what you can do that you wouldn’t have had time for before.
Getting outside is important, especially if you don’t have a garden to sit in.
Get outside and feel nature around you.
Most importantly - reach out if you need help – there are options available.
Talk to someone close to you, family, friend, neighbour
Call a help line (see links below)
Speak to your doctor
Remember there are some great organisations out there that you can reach out to - see the links below. You can also engage a coach or hypnotherapist to help you.