Category Archives: Success

Canvas sneakers

Giving Up The Old For The New

shutterstock_240068257

We all experience change whether we want to or not.  Regardless of our age or life experience, change is difficult.  It’s not that we don’t like change or want it, it’s that we would prefer for it to happen more easily and on our terms. Unfortunately, change often requires us to give up what’s old and familiar in order for something new and better to take its place.  Just like it is hard to throw away that favourite shirt or those comfy old shoes, we somehow manage to find new shirts and shoes to take their place.

It’s a strange paradigm.  On the one hand, we have this desire to build our lives around something secure, familiar and lasting.  And on the other hand, we are forever being forced to make life changes that keep us from becoming stagnant.

Giving up what previously defined our lives can be painful, but there is a new anticipation and maybe even excitement about building a new life or new identity.

So what is there, on the wings of your life, waiting to make an entrance, if you could just make the space to welcome in the new?

 

shutterstock_197798651

Delegating – The Curse of Letting Go

shutterstock_197798651

Many of us struggle with delegating. We appreciate that we need to ‘let go’ of certain things so that we can focus on what we should really be doing. Whether we are growing our business, moving into a bigger management and/ or leadership role, we feel this even more acutely.

If you love something dearly, you want to hold it close, right? Whether it’s your baby, your child, a project, business or an idea, if you feel passionate about it being done well or the impact it should have, are you going to find just ‘dropping it’ or ‘letting go’ easy? Of course not.

Those very words ‘let go’ are likely to trigger your sub-conscious brain, specifically your amygdala, to register threat, triggering cortisol to flood into your system. This causes your pulse to rise and your breathing rate to increase. Your ability to relate and connect with others decreases. Your ‘reptile brain’ takes over and basically says ‘No, shan’t, I’ve got to hang on to that!’ No wonder you struggle then to delegate effectively….

So what to do? Can we go about this in a different way?

Make no mistake, it is of course essential that we delegate to others. As we progress in our careers, we have to evolve into being what is required at that level. To grow as individuals, we also need to learn to let go. To manage day to day stresses, releasing and letting go of tension is essential.

May I invite you experiment with something? Instead of seeing whatever it is you need to delegate as something you have to ‘let go’ of, try visualising it as actually a process of ‘letting in’.

You’re letting in others so that they can show their value to you.
You are letting in others to that you can show how much you value them.

Just as we experience a warm glow of satisfaction from being needed, wanted and valued in our personal lives, the same is true of our professional. Letting in others to do some of the work you feel is yours to ‘control’ allows you the opportunity to let others feel this glow (and hopefully someone is also doing that for you!).

shutterstock_330111

Passion Trumps Making Do

Do you love what you do? shutterstock_330111

Is there enough of that passion left to get you through the long and difficult days?

Do you still feel that excited energy of motivation and purpose pulsing through your veins as you approach your day’s work?

No? Let’s take a time out.

Passion flows when you’ve identified what you’re good at and get results from, with what you are energized by (we can be good at lots of things that drain us – that isn’t where the magic lies). Yes, sometimes we have to do stuff that doesn’t suit so well because it allows us to tap into the things we do love. If you can’t find that in your work for some reason, people will often seek out other opportunities that gets their heart’s racing and the blood flowing. We all need passion in our lives – it tells us we are alive and vital!

So if a quickening pulse of excitement and flow is no longer happening for you, ask yourself these questions.

Did I ever feel passionate about what I do and if I did, what specifically did I love?

How can I bring more of that back into my life?

If you’ve never felt that passion, what would really light your fire? (Hint: it’s the things you can’t stop talking about, the stuff you seek out, the things you do where time stands still).

How can you bring more of that into your life?

Passion trumps making do.  Don’t let this one and beautiful life slip through your fingers because you settled at making do. You don’t need to launch yourself into drastic change to re-ignite passion – remember the tortoise won the race not the hare. You just need to get started.

Choose2Flourish

Do you love what you do?  Is there enough of that passion left to get you through the long and difficult days? Do you still feel that excited energy of motivation and purpose pulsing through your veins as you approach your day’s work? No? Let’s take a time out. Passion flows when you’ve identified what [...]

22 West Mall
BS8 4BQ Bristol

Email address

Website

Description

Career and confidence coaching for purpose led professionals looking to thrive in a career that feeds their soul as well as their bank balance.

Career strategy, cv, preparing for interview, stepping into a new role, leadership transition and career crossroads navigation

» get directions on Google Maps
shutterstock_131588138

Work Life Balance or Merge – Are You Getting It Right?

shutterstock_131588138Work-Life Balance – it sure sounds good, but what exactly is it and how do you get it?

Work – life balance is the dynamic interaction between ‘work’ and ‘life’.

‘Work’ is those tasks you must do to keep your life functioning – paid or unpaid, inside or outside of the home. And ‘life’ is those things you do for your own personal fulfillment – the things you really enjoy and want to do. ‘Balance’ is the ideal blend of those two areas.

To move toward life balance, become aware of how you are spending your time. Notice where you are satisfied, where you may be imbalanced and what you would like to change.

Next create your own vision of a balanced day. How do your desire your ideal day to look while enjoying the perfect combination of ‘work’ and ‘life’?

Identify the obstacles that interfere with your quest for balance such as your own thoughts, words and actions. Also look at other obstacles such as other people’s opinions, schedules and actions.

And finally, put it all into ‘action’.   Awareness, desire and identifying your obstacles are important, but to move toward balance, you need to take action.

Work-life balance is not a destination. It is a dynamic state of awareness and choices. Try these simple tips to help move you toward the life you desire.

Choose2Flourish

Work-Life Balance – it sure sounds good, but what exactly is it and how do you get it? Work – life balance is the dynamic interaction between ‘work’ and ‘life’. ‘Work’ is those tasks you must do to keep your life functioning – paid or unpaid, inside or outside of the home. And ‘life’ is [...]

22 West Mall
BS8 4BQ Bristol

Email address

Website

Description

Executive career and confidence coaching for purpose led professionals.

Enabling you to thrive in a career that feeds your soul as well as your bank balance.

» get directions on Google Maps
shutterstock_69033118

Written Down or Visualise – Which Way to Goal Success?

shutterstock_69033118

We all know that having and achieving goals is an important aspect of living a fulfilling and meaningful life. It gives us confidence and motivation. It allows us to recognise accomplishments in our lives, something many of us can find hard to do. For many people, just giving ourselves permission to have goals can be a barrier. For others, trying to realise their dreams and ambitions brings them face to face to enemy number one, fear – of failure, of being judged, of being too successful – the list is endless.

Successful goal achievement is the one of the fundamental benefits of working with a coach. We help you identify not just any old goal but powerful, inspiring goals that are congruent to who you really are and what’s truly important to you. We enable you to work out where it is you want to go by getting your vision crystal clear and using that to work for you as a powerful motivator for action.

Once we’re proficient with setting congruent goals, the next important step is understanding how we should be using them to greatest effect.

For many, it’s writing them down that is the essential part. Whilst the popularly quoted study about Harvard students is a myth, a study undertaken at Dominican University does support the belief that those who write them down and create some accountability towards achieving them (either by sharing with a friend or coach), will be much more successful in accomplishing them.

shutterstock_184711295

Many others put tremendous store in visualising goals, seeing the mental preparation in our minds eye as being a key part of attracting that into our field (think Law of Attraction). It’s also seen as a vital means of training our subconscious to align our decisions and actions with what it is we want to do. Visualisation, without doubt, is a very powerful tool that many highly successful Olympic athletes, speakers and business people use. But can you rely on visualisation alone?

One research study reported by Amy Brann in her acclaimed book ‘Make Your Brain Work‘, examined the improvements in finger muscle tone in groups of people who actually did the finger exercising compared to those who just visualised it happening. Amazingly enough, the later group of ‘visualizers’ saw a 22% increase in muscle tone over the study period compared to a 20% increase in muscle tone of those who actually did the exercising…

From seeing the success in the clients I work with, and from personal experience, I’d say if you were to combine the two techniques, you’re going to be flying – and getting real results.

Choose2Flourish Ltd

We all know that having and achieving goals is an important aspect of living a fulfilling and meaningful life. It gives us confidence and motivation. It allows us to recognise accomplishments in our lives, something many of us can find hard to do. For many people, just giving ourselves permission to have goals can be a barrier. For [...]

22 West Mall
BS8 4BQ Bristol

Email address

Website

Description

Powerful executive, career and confidence coaching services for purpose-led professionals

» get directions on Google Maps
Childhood Dreams

Three Tips to Help Find Your True Vocation From Childhood Dreams

Remember those dreams you had as a kid?

The ones where you’d confidently state you’d be singer, an artist, a circus performer? Or perhaps you wanted to be a scientist, an inventor, or a teacher?

I wanted to either be an artist in a studio, or an actress. I’d write and perform plays whenever I got the chance and an unsuspecting audience. I’d set up my paints in the back garden and recreate the apple tree in fantastic detail and colours. The time just whizzed by. What did you think you’d be ‘when you were a grown up’?

Childhood Dreams

For most of us, we don’t actually become what we say at 7, 8 or 9 years old. For a lucky few however, those early seeds do provide the actual signposting of a lifelong passion. My twin sister was, as far as I can tell, born knowing she wanted to be a doctor. When she graduated from her medical school, I was in tears of joy, recognising the dedication, determination and belief she had put in to realising that childhood ambition.

So what does that say to the rest of us? What if I told you that those early assertions of purpose do actually hold the kernel to your life satisfaction and happiness?

Paulo Coelho in ‘The Alchemist’ talks about the heart giving out nudges that, when listened to quietly, provide all the insight and guidance a person could need. The heart shouts out the loudest in the young but as we get older, things get in our way. We learn to get scared, we start to doubt our abilities and take on other peoples’ perspectives and experiences.

When we stop listening to our heart and allow the fear to take over, we settle, we give up and our lives are less fulfilled as a result. Reflecting back on what made our hearts sing in childhood, what we confidently proclaimed to any pesky inquiring adult, may have more bearing on your current adult life than you think.

Tip 1: Reflect fully on what you wanted as a child.

Behind the immature language, what were you really saying? If it was ‘to be a doctor’, was it the helping people, the status of the white coat, your interest in how our bodies work? What, in more adult language, lies at the core of what you were saying?

Tip 2: Consider where and how you lost track of time as a child and ask yourself whether you are still bringing those things into your life now.

As well as creating and performing, it was whizzing along lanes on my bike, enjoying the sense of freedom and speed. Cycling still opens up the same feelings for me and I know I am simply ‘better’ after time spent outdoors. What about you?

Tip 3: Look at the small, tiny ways you could bring your ‘childhood’ dreams into your life now.

Looking out of my window to the Clifton suspension bridge from my new studio base last week, I suddenly recalled my ‘artist in a studio’ ambition. And here it was. Creating, yes – coaching my clients is definitely that, coming up with new ways to support a smooth and fruitful positive transition. Working by myself, in an environment far removed from a typical office situation.

Speaking at the launch of a new network for Bristol based PAs last week, I was also bringing into my life the other aspect that so enthralled me as a child – performing. With my adult eyes, I can see how standing in front of a crowd, with a message to share, fulfils me at a very deep level.

So what about you?

How can you recall your young self and that youthful heart – what nudges was your heart giving you then and what can you do now?

I’d love to know what resonates here with you so do get in touch.

Choose2Flourish Ltd

Remember those dreams you had as a kid? The ones where you’d confidently state you’d be singer, an artist, a circus performer? Or perhaps you wanted to be a scientist, an inventor, or a teacher? I wanted to either be an artist in a studio, or an actress. I’d write and perform plays whenever I [...]

22 West Mall
BS8 4BQ Bristol

Phone

  • +44 (0) 7875812477

Email address

Website

Description

Navigating a life or career crossroads can be a breeze with Choose2Flourish by your side. You can step up or find a new direction, ensuring the next phase in your life is truly amazing.
Powerful career, confidence and life coaching services by Rhian Sherrington

» get directions on Google Maps
shutterstock_173611466

Are You Being Heard in Work?

You’re in a meeting and you get a great idea. You speak up and share your thoughts but it kind of gets passed over. Later on in the same meeting, a colleague pipes up with your suggestion but this time is does get heard and action is taken to implement your idea.

Sound Familiar? shutterstock_173611466

If this does happen to you, chances are you are female and it’s likely that the colleague, who gets heard with your idea, is a man. He may or may not claim the idea to be his own and you may or may not remind the group that it was your idea in the first place. Whatever the follow up scenario, you’re likely to be left feeling unheard and wondering why you’re so ineffective in getting your ideas picked up. You may think it’s okay, at least the action is being taken, but in the long term, you run the risk of your value and contribution not being recognised or rewarded.

So what is going on here? Well what’s going on is the effect of the differences in men and women’s linguistic style.

Men and Women’s Linguistic Style

Linguistic style is your characteristic speaking pattern. It’s how direct or conversational you are, your rate of speech and length of pausing; it’s your tone of voice, your loudness. According to Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, Washington and author of 15 books, linguistic style is a set of culturally learned signals that communicate what we mean and how we interpret other people and evaluate one another. Women it seems, learn a different linguistic style from men, which places them at a disadvantage as it can make them seem less confident and self- assured that they really are.

Sheryl Sandberg’s current ‘ban bossy’ campaign touches on these differences between men and women. In childhood, girls focus on building rapport through conversations, they learn how to ‘save face’ for others and for many, they learn not to be too self-promoting as they believe they won’t be liked for it. In contrast, boys learn about asserting their status, about pushing for ‘top dog’ and ensuring they’re always in a ‘one up’ position. Even if you don’t agree this should be the case, think back on how assertive, self-promoting women have made you feel in the past and ask yourself, would you judge them differently if that linguistic style had come from a man?

So for a man, claiming “I do this’ is second nature; Women are far more likely to avoid using ‘I’ and go for a collaborative ‘we’ instead.  Asking questions may be very helpful in building consensus and for many women, is a natural managerial style but for many, especially men, this can be perceived as putting themselves in a ‘one down’ situation and to be avoided at all costs. Say goes for saying sorry. Fortunately the growth in awareness and application of emotional intelligence in managerial and leadership development has helped us see how collaborative and coaching styles have so much more to offer to teams and individuals than old style, dictatorial approaches, but childhood socialisation has a long-lived impact.

Taking Turns to Speak

Another aspect of linguistic style concerns how long a pause we leave or need after someone has stopped talking and we take our turn to speak. Gender differences have a real bearing here, along with culture, where you live and so on. For some, the pause is hardly discernible and they’re straight in, offering their thoughts. For others, the pause needs to be longer, they need to consider what was just said and they’re checking that the speaker has, indeed, finished. You can imagine what happens when, in a group of fast talkers who jump in before someone has really finished, you have someone who needs a longer pause before they feel ready to contribute. They never see the window they need to speak and so don’t or are unable. Women have a tendency to fall into this category of needing longer pauses, so you can see how that could be perceived as a lack of confidence and self-assurance in a situation when everyone else is cutting in.

Being Stroppy

Being a Welsh comprehensive educated girl, when I went up to Oxford University to start my Geography degree, one of the biggest shocks I had in my tutorials was the ‘jumping in’ of my all-male (mainly privately educated) peers. I couldn’t get a word in edgeways and when I did, I was often interrupted and cut short. I found it very upsetting and remember feeling angry and powerless about how to change the situation. I did learn to be more assertive and adjusted my own pacing to match that around me, but it wasn’t my natural style. How this did me some discredit I learned much later when attending the retirement lunch for one of my old tutors. “Ah yes Rhian, I remember you. You were always so stroppy”.  I obviously didn’t get the balance right between being authentic and flexing my style at that stage in my life!

So What To Do?

Nancy Klein in her book ‘A Time to Think’ calls for organisations to adopt principles that promote a proper ‘thinking environment’.  Her ten components to doing that recognise the importance of listening to each other, of asking incisive questions that help people ‘speak and think’.  Creating the right environment where all individuals can be encouraged to contribute is key, with awareness that team meetings tend to bring out the best in men, but not necessarily women.

As women, we should allow ourselves to use “I’ rather than ‘we’ on more occasions. Being aware of the linguistic culture of our organisations and teams may also help work out why we’re not being heard. Cultivating a flexible style of communication to reflect the preferences of who you are speaking with can be very useful.  Facilitating and encouraging better listening is beneficial for both men and women.

You don’t need to shout, push in or get ‘stroppy’ to be heard. The impression and impact we create is not just about the words we use – it’s our tone of voice and our body language. Research has shown that 55% of our impact on others comes from our body language, the ‘dance’, 38% from our tone of voice, ‘the music’ and only 7% from our words. Develop insights on the impact you are having through self-reflection and ask for feedback from a trusted source. Being heard is a question of appreciating your ‘words, music and dance’ and how to get them working for you.

Successful people know where they are going

FIND YOUR OWN WAY TO FLOURISH 

A Flourishing Path

A Flourishing Path

How we define success is very personal. There are many, many books out there that will tell you all about the various strategies, steps and tools. Some will ring true for you and others will leave you wondering if everyone is off on another planet.

Personally, I define success as having a rounded and grounded perspective on a life lived with purpose and meaning; being able to use my strengths to accomplish things of value and importance to me, combined with a capacity to feel and give joy and gratitude. Well, that is what it feels like to me right now – I’ll probably come up with slightly different words tomorrow – but the essence will be the same.

In a nutshell, it’s about fully knowing the ‘why’s’ behind your decisions on what to focus on, and being sufficiently self aware and tuned in to others, to both self manage, and to manage with compassion, your impact on others.

To expand on that a little.

Successful people know where they are going. In all likelihood they;

* creatively use their strengths to thrive at work, at home;

* are open to new possibilities;

* enjoy excellent relationships with others;

* have learnt how to manage daily stresses;

* are self aware and know how to be authentically themselves; and

* invest time to reflect and grow.

HOW CAN YOU DO THE SAME?

I think age helps! A life lived through it’s natural transitions and stages brings wisdom for many. Whilst we’ve a long way to go before we venerate the ‘Third Age’ as much as the Chinese or Hindu culture’s, perhaps we are seeing a shift in attitude as the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation in this country heads out into their Third (and Fourth?) Age. There’s nothing quite like sharing your thoughts with an ‘elder’ to help put your current concerns into perspective.

However, if you’ve not quite got to that point of ‘wise old sage’ yet yourself, starting to prioritise a bit of ‘me-time’ to reflect, read and question is, I think, essential. Often that can get shoved to one side as our various roles make their multiple demands of us. There is a very good reason though, why the life jackets get put on the adults first and not the infants. You’ve got to sort yourself out before you can be of any use to others. Spending time alone can be really helpful in this regard, but so can meeting up with others who use a similar definition to ‘success’ as yourself.

Which is why I am delighted to be running a short course of ‘Choose 2 Flourish’ workshops in Bristol starting on 23rd May. We’re going to be using some great tools and models to broaden our thinking, develop our awareness and self management, and work on the stuff that matters to us. If you’re in Bristol, and this post has rung your bell, then click on the link below to get the full details.

http://choose2flourishworkshops.eventbrite.co.uk