Is This Really It?

Is This Really It?

After a tough day, tough week and what seems like an endlessly tough future, we can often find ourselves asking, Is this it? Is this what life is really all about?

It seems that questions like this prevail most when we are feeling disconnected from others, not really sure of our purpose or unsure of who we are. And it can happen at any age. As we get older it is often harder to voice. For many their identities have become driven by the roles they occupy at work. The purposelessness has gone on for so long that it’s now the norm and the void is filled with an almost insatiable need for things ... the latest gadget or app surely holds the route to happiness. And given that many older people do have access to finance to support this, the hard questions can be avoided. For the younger generation, those in their first or second job - where money is often not so readily available to fill the void - social media can create sufficient distraction... at least for a while!

Who Am I Really?

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We play many roles in life and and it seems the more we have the better! Depending who I am speaking to I am: the leader, head of collaboration, engagement queen, loyal worker, partner, mother, cook, dog walker, rescuer, peacemaker….

I met a lady earlier this week, let’s call her Jane, she is in a senior role and struggling with her ‘aggressive boss’. When I asked her who she was, she responded with a number of ‘usual roles’ and added ‘protector of her team, from the boss’ and ‘person with ambition that has had to push it inside to cope with her boss.’ She has been fulfilling this role for over 2 years and it clearly weighed heavily on her! The price she is paying is high, the situation is becoming increasingly energy draining and, most importantly, this is not sustainable.

With each role comes a perceived way of being, an expectation, an ideal we need to live up to or risk being seen as a failure, unworthy of the job, or worst of all, just not good enough!

And yet how often do we stop to ask, to ask “Who am I really?"

As we struggle beneath the weight of all our roles we lose sight of the brilliant, inspirational and wise human being just waiting to be unburdened from all that expectation and stress.

With a bit of work and the right intention we can discover and even change who we are.

We can acknowledge the current version of ‘me’ and all the roles she has carried and achieved before moving to our core identity.

We’re like the butterfly above, our wings closed, eyes watchful. But it’s easier than you imagine to unfurl our wings, display their beauty, and take off!

If you would like the opportunity to undergo this process of unburdening and experience your core identity under my careful guidance please contact me or join me at the Women in Leadership Summit, 12-13th September in Barcelona, where I’m running an interactive session.

During the workshop you will identify the roles that define you today and, following a safe process, have the opportunity to reshape those roles to create a more conscious, aligned and purposeful identity.

It promises to be an incredible event!

Starting with You - an Introduction to Discovering your true self

Starting with You - an Introduction to Discovering your true self

Have you ever stopped to ask who you really are? 

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the essence of my identity?

Sooner or later we all seem to stop at the question. Answering it enables us to move forward, lead, manage, and form relationships with ease. Not doing so means stress, anxiety and frustration build – impacting our work, our ability to succeed and our home lives… and we seem powerless to change that.

The Root Of Harassment

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I attended a great #MeToo round table discussion at #MTG (Maurice Turnor Gardner solicitors) offices in London recently. The legal perspective on such a key issue is always great to hear. The audience questions were thought-provoking and moved the conversation from a business risk focus, which seems to be the one of the primary concerns for a harassment claim, into a health, safety and well-being space. The impact of harassment is often wider than just affecting those directly involved. Aside from the stress/emotional impact, the level of distraction impacts on mental and physical well-being which is why I firmly believe it sits in both camps (whether or not the Health and Safety Executive agrees).

The conversation looked at the impact of power associated with a senior role as well as that of social situations in the workplace. When harassment arises there are no winners…. in one way or another everyone involved becomes a victim, often carrying the memory of the event with them for the rest of their lives - impacting their mental, emotional and yes, physical well-being in the short and long term. Whenever we discuss harassment it is also important to remember that the discussion always happens after the event - by which time both the victim and the guilty party are stressed, angry and anxious and unlikely to be at their best. 

So what are we doing to change this culture of ‘harassment’? Indeed, can we do anything or are we just powerless to respond with legislation and punishment after the event? Perhaps we need to start with the perpetrators. I am curious as to how consciously they were aware of the true impact of their actions - on their victims, their families and their life - or were they too caught up in a society where they believe they are expected to be number one and behave in a certain way?   

Now let me make it clear, I AM NOT condoning their actions - far from it! But I do wonder what insecurities they are hiding behind and whether they are acting under the impact of stress - meaning their clever neo-cortex brain isn’t capable of functioning as it would normally. Have they themselves literally have become victim to their auto mind/body connection - being driven by habit and fear? 

Unless we can teach people about how their operating system works - showing them the power of thought and opening them up to the real internal change process, in a safe way that doesn’t require masses of courage - then perhaps this culture of harassment is sadly here to stay.   

If you would like to transform your thinking then please get in touch via my contact page.

 

Does Meditation Have A Place In The Corporate World?

Have you had a tough meeting, a challenging conversation or a difficult email recently?
Try my Ten Minute De-stress At Work Meditation, available for free on my meditation page!

The world of business, big and small, is reaching for even greater levels of busy-ness and all too often without a clear focus.

Sure, there is usually a corporate goal and a supporting strategy (well, hopefully) but I am finding that it does not translate to those who have to deliver it. The result is top executives who have high, sometimes unrealistic expectations and lower level teams who automatically head for stress, caused by the fear of failure. And sadly, because this is the ‘way we work around here’, this goes by almost unnoticed.

The health impact of stress is generally acknowledged but what about the business performance aspect? Well, for a start stressed people become very selfish...i.e. self-focused, often illustrated at a very material level by thoughts like how can I prove that I am better than, or where I can hide in my current project so that I won't get measured?and who or what can I blame? 

We’ve all seen these and many other examples - so why does this happen?

The chemicals associated with stress severely impact our ‘executive brain’, so much so that we often quickly find ourselves acting out a familiar pattern or response to the stressful situation. And of course part of this selfish focus means we lose connection with the team. So now both the individual and the teams' performance is below par!.....leading to more stress.

Teaching people how to increase their self awareness, how to notice their physical, emotional and mental responses to life at work and helping them find a way to stay connected or at least ‘unstress’ themselves is critical now! And one of the many benefits of meditation.

What Is Meditation?

Lot of stories and fear surround meditation. People ask me who it’s for and why they should bother. They might say, “I go to the gym so I’m ok!”

The simple truth is that meditation is about focusing the mind for a period of time on a purpose of your choosing. 

This is a very natural human activity, particularly during traumatic events, when we all welcome some time and space to think and reflect. In reality, this mind exercise is probably just as, if not more important than physical exercise.  If you care about your performance and your well-being  then meditation is not optional!  

I recently led a 45-minute guided meditation ‘taster’ session held in the office at lunch-time, focussed on raising ‘self-awareness and energy, and the participants said they were calmer, more focussed and with noticeably more energy -

One person said:

Brings a sense of calmness, relief, weightless, lightness and some quality time during the day to switch off and think about ‘me’. Had a very productive afternoon, I felt very organised with a sense of positivity.

Not bad for a Friday!

So does Meditation have a place in the corporate world? Well yes if we are looking for sustainable performance and care about the well-being of our teams – otherwise both the people and business risk becomes a significant threat to our future.

So if you are serious about well-being and yet also are looking to improve performance why not contact me about a trial session in your workplace?