Category: Wisdom

Big Boys (and Girls) DO Cry! How Your Emotions Can Make You Smarter…

By , August 21, 2013 10:13 am

Big Boys don't cry“Crying can make you smarter.”

Nancy Kline – Author

I was talking with a manager who admitted that he struggled when one of his team started to get emotional and cried. He wasn’t sure how to react; it made him feel uncomfortable, and he just wanted them to ‘get over it’ and get their control back. He’d find himself over talking and saying anything to try to stop their reaction. This didn’t make him feel good.

It’s funny how we label crying, anger, and even fear, as being out of control.

If you watch other people’s reaction to someone crying at work they might panic, look uncomfortable, or start talking and smother them with their own concern. This reaction is more about them and wanting the other person to stop, rather than about the person crying.

Our society is scared of tears, anger and fear. We just want it to stop. We think that the pain will go away if you just stop it!

Here’s a recent real life example…

I was watching a Mother at Tescos supermarket yelling at her 3-year old child who was crying because she couldn’t sit in the cart. The Mum grabbed her child by the arm and shouted: “Big girls don’t cry – Just grow up! Stop it! You’re a bad girl and you’re embarrassing me in front of all these people!”

I had to walk away from this…

The Mother was teaching her child to repress her emotions and push them down. The child was learning how to become acceptable. Of course, the little girl sobbed even more because of her Mother’s reaction.

We have been taught to pull ourselves together, not show our weaknesses, and we are encouraged to stop showing our emotions.

Here’s the thing, though… Our emotions are there for a reason.

When we get upset (angry, scared or tearful) our thinking stops. Human beings minds are designed to get logic and thinking back if an emotional circuit breaker kicks in. Expressing your feelings, e.g. talking your anger out with a friend on the phone, can be enough to restart your thinking.

Crying is a natural process to rid the body of pain and upset. It’s completely natural and a healthy way to release toxic energy that has built up inside us.

Myths and bad advice that our parents and teachers have taught us:

  1. Crying increases the pain – So if you want it to stop – STOP crying!
  2. Being angry means that you’re out of control – You need to control your anger. Anger is a bad thing – no one should be angry EVER! Stop being angry and your anger will go away.
  3. Being scared is a weakness – You need to toughen up and be more confident. Just stop shaking and you’ll not feel scared.

Stopping this natural release makes the pain find another route to flow. It is absorbed inside you, where it goes underground. Holding this in can cause pressure, anxiety and even physical illness if the issue is held down long enough. These built up feelings churn around inside you and block your thinking.

Here’s my response to the manager who was struggling…

If someone is crying at work it could be for many reasons: frustration, sadness or even because of a paradigm shift in their thinking that has had a profound impact on them.

In that moment, their emotions trigger in to release the energy; they need to cry because in that moment they can’t think. It’s the same with being angry or scared…

Allow and hold space for this to happen for a few minutes.

In those few minutes, they don’t need your platitudes or smothering with words.

  • If they are angry – Let them just talk it out. ALL you have to do is LISTEN. Don’t try to reason with them. Don’t jump in there and agree – you’ll make things worse! Ask them: what is it that is making you angry about this?
  • If they are crying – Let them cry and just sit with them (don’t do anything!). They may cry because they are frustrated and unable to think. This will pass sooner rather than later, if you don’t stop them.
  • If they are scared – Let them talk through their fear. Sometimes just articulating their fear and sharing it reduces its power. Again, all you have to do is LISTEN.

Hold space for them and act as if it’s perfectly okay and normal (because it is!). Give them your respectful attention.

Observe what happens…

They will recover in a short space of time and their thinking will re-engage. You don’t need to over compensate by thinking for them and rambling out loud!

It’s natural for people to occasionally get angry, cry or say that they are frightened. Allow safe space for this to happen and you’ll observe how quickly people can recover from their emotion and think more clearly afterwards.

Next time you’re feeling angry, sad or frightened, give yourself permission to allow your emotions out rather than keeping it all inside and pushing it down.

BIG Boys (and Girls) DO Cry!

 

How to Become Known As An EXPERT

By , July 25, 2013 11:23 am

iStock_000011959900XSmall“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.”

Denis Waitley

Experts make things look easy!

The journey to acquiring expertise often takes time, hard work, discipline, and persistence. It doesn’t just happen overnight.

Reading all the books in the world on a particular topic doesn’t make you an expert, though it will make you more knowledgeable about something. Expertise is not only the acquisition of knowledge, it’s also the ability to implement and use the information wisely.

For example, I know several ‘coaches’ who understand the principles and theory of coaching, but they have no coaching clients! They are so busy trying to gain their expertise from books, another qualification or attending one more workshop, instead of going out into the world and actually coaching people!

So it’s also the practical application of knowledge and understanding.

Expertise is developed over time and one of the essential ingredients is experience.

People become experts for many reasons. Here are a few of them:

  • To establish credibility
  • To become the Go To Person…Others will seek you out for your knowledge and experience
  • To leverage your marketability and increase your perceived value
  • To expand your horizons and see things from a different perspective
  • To increase your success
  • To gain the trust and buy-in of others
  • To become a leader and shine the light for others to follow

Here are seven ways to become known as an expert by getting good at what you do:

1. Be passionate – Expertise starts with knowing what you are passionate about. You have to be genuinely interested and naturally curious about your topic to become an expert in it. Have you ever tried to learn something that you’re not interested in?! You stop learning! Believe in your own ability to become an expert – You CAN do it!

2. Experience it – You get better at things by experiencing them. Get some real-life experience, keep up to date, read around the subject, and apply your learning to your every day life or work. For example, one of the best ways to learn how to be a coach is by being coached! Turn the theory into practice! Actively look for opportunities to practice what you are learning. Do things imperfectly and be open to making a few mistakes along the way.

3. Surround yourself with like-minded people – Become a member of an association or join a professional body in your field. Attend conferences and workshops to learn from those more experienced than you. Listen and learn from credible experts. Connect with online groups who talk about your subject and support each other (not groups where people just promote their shit all the time!). Network with others who are passionate about the topic. It’s okay if they know more about it than you as you can learn from them.

4. Leaders are readers – Read books and listen to audios. Watch videos and read articles. Sign up for eZines and weekly articles from credible sources and make time to read what they have to say. Be curious and look for knowledge about your subject. Remember to APPLY it into your life. Become a student of you and try things out. Get into the habit of regular reading each week and you’ll soon know more than most people around you. Continue your education around your subject.

5. Share what you learn – Share what you learn with others as you learn it. Be willing to share what you know. This will help to position your self as an expert over time. You will start to notice that you know more about the subject than those around you and you can offer help and support to them as you are working at a higher level than others. Most people haven’t taken time to read or explore the topic like you have. You may even create a presentation or workshop to help others.

6. Get writing! Write articles or blog posts about your stories and experiences and how you’ve applied your learning. Share your successes too. This way other people will get a feel for you and you will build your expertise. They see themselves in you. Writing a short ebook or a chapter in a book about something you are passionate about can really enhance your credibility. It can also be a catalyst for other opportunities such as consultancy opportunities, radio interviews and speaking engagements.

7. Give it timeBecoming an expert doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Make a long-term commitment and build a foundation for success through commitment and persistence. You become an expert by taking your learning and growth seriously. Set goals and take consistent action. You’ll start to notice when others come to you for advice or give you feedback about your depth of understanding. Keep going and keep growing. There is ALWAYS more to learn. You are never done!

You become an expert by doing the groundwork by practicing what you are learning and through demonstrating your passion and expertise…

 

How to choose a good role model/mentor…

By , March 27, 2013 2:32 am

iStock_000014997780Small… But realize that mentoring is also about helping people learn to be themselves. You do this by honoring what is good and unique about those you are mentoring, not by trying to bend them to your image.”

~ James A. Autry , The Servant Leader

I’m often asked how do you select a good mentor?

Role models are an important way to learn. We’ve been using them since we were kids: Watching how other people do things, copying their behaviour and then modeling it to make it our own.

Most of what we learn is experiential, we learn by trial and error – hit or miss! This can be hard work, frustrating, and cost time, effort and money!

Some of my first mentors were authors whom I’d never met, but whose books I’d read from cover to cover and started to model their recommended behaviours to get results. You may have heard the term: Leaders are readers and reading is a great place to start but it can only take you so far…

It’s hard to do everything on your own. Sometimes it’s important to reach out for help to someone who is a head of you on the journey.

IMPORTANT NOTE…Be selective about who you choose…

Some people say ALL the right things (especially on the internet!), they have an exciting website claiming success and oozing confidence. However, on closer inspection you find that they are not what they claim to be and are just copying authentic mentors and claiming false expertise.

These people create a negative experience because there is no depth or breadth to their knowledge or expertise (in other words they are full of BS!). You will walk away from this feeling disappointed and confused. They are false and incongruent.

Here’s what I know and share with my clients.

A good mentor is…

1.    The AFTER of your BEFORE! Selecting a good mentor can save you time and stop you from making mistakes. They can help you get further faster because they have already experienced what you want to learn and are two or three levels ahead of you – they can speak your language. You can learn from their wisdom and experience. Select the best, you deserve to learn from someone who has already been there and achieved what you want to achieve. As you progress to another level, you’ll choose a different mentor who is at a higher level (don’t reach too high too soon!).

2.    Authentic. There is more to a good mentor than just their professionalism, skills and expertise. To be an inspirational role model they have to demonstrate personal characteristics that you’d like to emulate too. How you do anything, is how you do everything! It’s not just the qualification that counts – it’s the application of the qualification. Personal and professional are linked and inter-connected. Having similar values are hugely important if you want the learning experience to be successful. Their values will influence yours and if they are incongruent, the relationship won’t work. Check this out through their published work, how they show up and through testimonials. Professional and personal go hand in hand – check this out. Do you like them and what they stand for?

3.    ‘Wise’ and credible. The most common definition of mentoring comes from the Greeks: A wise and trusted advisor. A good mentor is intuitive and can provide great guidance with just a few words. They bring a different perspective to your situation. Having the ability to laser into the situation they can help you to see hidden opportunities to make the undoable – doable. They also demonstrate success through proven experience in their profession. Seek out the advice of people who are actively successful in what you want to learn. Their credibility is real and not just claimed!

4.    Changes lives. There is a huge difference between mentors who claim this and those that actually add value and make a difference. You can feel the difference at a cellular level. Genuine mentors model personal growth. They help you to change YOUR world, unlock your potential and help you to grow by increasing your self-awareness. The people you choose to model and take advice from actually help shape the person you become. They help you to be yourself and not a distorted image of them.

5.    Cares about you and your success. If your mentor doesn’t care about you, then the relationship will fail. I was once mentored by a selfish person who was only out to satisfy his own agenda: money and perceived power. Good mentors have a high level of emotional awareness and support you from the head and the heart. They offer friendship and guidance in an unselfish way. Your mentor always sees you in your highest light and works to help you reach your true potential. They are accessible and available to support you.

The greatest learning influences in my life are my mentors, people who I model and take advice from. They have helped to shape me to become the person I am today. I’m honored and blessed to have them in my life.

A good mentor will make a huge difference to you personally and professionally… You can also pay it forward by becoming a mentor to others.

 

7 Ways to Become More Effective at Learning

By , December 5, 2012 11:02 pm

“You are the product of your learning. Everything you know, everything you can do and everything you believe, you have learnt.” 

Peter Honey, Author and Speaker.

“I love learning, but I want to read and learn everything.  I feel overwhelmed with all that I want to do, and would like to work out how I can get a better balance with the time I spend learning and doing everything else, and how I should maybe plan how and when I learn.” – A Coaching Client.

I was asked this week for coaching advice from someone who loves to learn, but she was overwhelmed with learning and frightened of becoming obsessed with the feeling of not knowing enough.

The feeling of not knowing enough is common, and it’s reinforced by the abundance of tools and information that is readily available today. Many of us buy learning materials without really having any plan of how we intend to use them. They gather dust on the shelf, as we rush back to our reactive and often chaotic busy lives.  

There’s so much information and inspiration out there, especially with instant access to content just a credit card click away on the Internet. It’s easy to be drawn into buying every book and online workshop available.

You end up with information overload and overwhelm.

You may have invested money in your learning but you’ve forgotten about  two other important key investments: Your time and your attitude towards learning.

Here are some tips on how to apply your learning instead of becoming a victim of Shelf Help Overwhelm!

1. Plan your learning – Set clear learning goals. What do you want to learn? Why do you want to learn it? What difference will it make to you personally or/and professionally? How important is it for you to learn and apply this knowledge/skill/behaviour? Set time in your schedule each week for Personal Development time. THIS IS IMPORTANT – Give it HIGH VALUE on your agenda (Or you won’t do it!). Choose to learn from one resource at a time. E.g. Read one book (not several books and an online programme all at the same time!).

2. How do you learn best? – Improve your own learning efficiency by understanding how you learn.  I use Honey & Mumford’s learning styles to explain how people can best learn. Using all four styles will ensure that your learning is effective:

  1. Have an experience (Activist) – Jumping in and trying it out – Seeking the challenge and having a go.
  2. Review the experience (Reflector) – Standing back to think, gather data and ponder.
  3. Conclude from the experience (Theorist) – Assimilate facts, theorise and pull together themes.
  4. Plan the next step (Pragmatist) – Seek out and try new ideas and applying a down to earth practical approach.

We all have a preference for one of these in the cycle. If you only learn using your preference, you’ll miss opportunities to learn quicker because you haven’t used the whole learning cycle: Do, Reflect, Conclude and Plan. Use a learning log to ensure that all four elements of learning are covered…

3. Create a learning log – Create a simple learning log or journal to help you apply what you’re learning as you go. Answer these four questions: 1. What was your learning experience? 2. Reflect on the experience – What were you thinking and feeling during the learning? 3. Did you specifically learn?  4. How do you intend to apply this learning to your life/work? (What is your first step?)

4. Use it or lose it! – If you only read it once, you’ll forget it because your brain will eliminate the neural pathway, unless you keep using it. If you want the new information you’ve learned to stick, then you have to make learning a continuous practice (Practice makes permanent). Look for opportunities to keep practicing and rehearsing the information. Re-visit your notes, make an audio to remind you of the key points. Refresh your knowledge.

5. Use multiple ways to learn – Don’t just read books. Engage your senses by listening to podcasts or an audio. Look for verbal and visual ways to learn such as drawing a mind map, watching a video or sharing your knowledge with a friend or an accountability partner. Using different parts of the brain helps you to learn at a deeper level rather just relying on memory recall.

6. Teach other people what you’ve learned – When I learn something new I translate it into my own words, this helps me to understand the information. I then apply it to my coaching or training classes or I might even write a blog post about it! Sharing what you’ve learned with others helps you to imbed the new knowledge in your brain. You help other people in the process!

7. Apply what you’ve learned – Reading and researching is only part of the process, putting new knowledge, skills and behaviours into practice is one of the best ways to learn. Make what you’ve learned real by using it in the ‘real’ world (not just holding it in your head). If you’ve learned about being assertive, then try it out at work or home. Do it imperfectly then use your learning log to build on the experience for next time. Little and often – practice it regularly, form a new habit.

Be deliberate about your learning – Plan, Do, Review, Conclude!

Are you the real deal or just a cheap imitation? Are you modelling or stealing your way to success?

By , June 13, 2012 8:05 pm

I had an interesting discussion with a client this week about the difference between these two concepts. My client is an entrepreneur who has recently been the victim of Shiny Bright Object marketing in the UK. She realized afterwards that she’d been seduced by a workshop that was a cheap imitation of someone else’s expertise.  She felt disappointed by the basic level of knowledge given by the coach, who professed to being an ‘expert’.

Unfortunately, this stuff happens too often!

It reminded me about the explosion of what some people are calling ‘cookie cutter’ coaches that are coming off the production line, offering revolutionary ways to build your six-figure business in twelve months!

Sign up TODAY!!

This claim is a Bright Shiny Object for many entrepreneurs who are struggling to find clients. They line up to hand over cash to get their hands on that secret formula for success! Only to find that it is re-purposed or poor quality material.

If you dig behind the ‘sales page’ and slick marketing techniques of some of these coaches and their claims, you’ll realize that they are NOT the real deal. They are just a pale imitation of someone else’s original cool idea and expertise.

They too have probably attended a workshop or course and are copying the tools of their coaches in hope that can build their six figure businesses in the next twelve months! These people haven’t made six figures yet either! They’re just waiting for folks like you to sign up so that they can!

It feels very false and sticky… when someone is claiming success rates that aren’t true!

There’s a lot of ‘copying and pasting’ going on in the business world!

Okay…

As a leader of learning, I advocate copying as part of the learning process. We’ve all done it!

As an apprentice (or newbie), copying is a helpful tool that provides a framework for you to build your confidence and help you to find your own voice. I remember doing this in art class at school, following the techniques of a famous painter and then applying my own interpretation of their style to my empty canvas. This is an important part of the learning process.

There is a difference between:

Copying (cutting and pasting!)

and

Modelling (taking the concept, creating your own adaptation and adding your own voice.)

Finding YOUR OWN VOICE is an ESSENTIAL element of business success.

Stealing words, models and concepts to build a business does not create a recipe for business success.

Here’s why:

1. You remain passive and stuck in yesterday’s trends, because you’re waiting for others to create the ‘next best thing’ so you can copy it. I’ve heard people use the term ‘cutting edge’ in their marketing, when really they were cutting and pasting other people’s ideas and models, but claiming them as their own.

2. You’re searching for the ‘next best thing’ instead of creating it first for your clients. You might be searching the Internet daily for new things to copy. Looking for that ‘next best thing.’ Find your own voice – create your content from within and be uniquely YOU.

3. Your understanding remains at a surface level – There’s no deeper understanding to your offering because you’re just re-purposing things that other people have developed. Your understanding is only skin-deep. The original deeper understanding is diluted, as you create a copy of it. The real understanding stays with the person who created it.

 4. It’s not authentic and other people will see through you when they start to dig deeper. You have not experienced what your clients are hoping to learn from you. You have the theory but not the practice and you become an inferior version of someone else. You’re stuck in the thick of thin things!

5. You’re incongruent with the real you. You’re trying to be someone else. You are just imitating the person you are copying rather than stepping into your own power and being YOU and doing it YOUR way. You may struggle to talk about your work passionately because you’re not really clear on your own WHY (and it’s not really your work!)

Here’s how to know if you are stealing or modeling…

Ask yourself the following question:

Who’s done most of the work here?

If it’s someone else, then you know you’re stealing and copying!

Finding your OWN VOICE isn’t easy. It takes time, experimentation and persistence. It can be scary because your head is filled with doubt and uncertainty. But it’s worth the journey because YOU become AUTHENTIC and REAL.

Here are a few tips to help you become authentic and real:

1. Make YOU part of your service. Other people might steal your ideas and concepts but know that they can’t steal your ENERGY or your UNIQUE approach to what you do. Adding YOU is the vital ingredient!

2. YOU become part of your own brand. Inject YOU into everything that you do to create marketability and leverage through the power of you.

3. Know your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What do YOU bring to the party that is different? How is it different? Offer something that no one else offers. Approach it in a different way.

4. Be authentic. Being YOU and doing what you do IS ENOUGH. Stop playing dress up and pretending to be somebody else. Be a bigger, brighter and unique version of yourself.

5. Be a risk taker. Reach through your fear and doubt to find the courage to try out your ideas and new ways of doing things. Stop waiting for someone else to go there first.

YOU are unique… Let it shine through and model the way!

Finding the Courage to…

By , October 28, 2011 3:01 pm

“When courage finally comes you never see it coming. Right out of nowhere you open your heart and that changes everything. You’re going somewhere and all you need to know is that you’re free to go”

Christine Kane, Mentor, Singer Songwriter

This year so far courage has been a huge theme for me. I have experienced it on many levels and in all aspects of my life.

Sometimes I’ve found myself praying for courage; other times I’ve found myself writing in my journal about how grateful I was for receiving some. A few people closest to me have also shown extra-ordinary courage this year. They have been great teachers (including my kitty, Charlie!).

Courage was overflowing recently at Christine Kane’s Gold Mastermind that I attended in Asheville, NC, USA.  I watched people as they got clear and reached a deeper level of courage. Despite being scared, they decided to take some real action steps to seriously Uplevel their business and their lives. This is a BIG deal and life changing for those involved. Yes, there were tears as people faced their fears and decided to let go of playing small.

Finding your courage creates a whole new level of freedom.

Here’s what I’ve learned about courage…

I have many examples to share from this year, but my personal story below is one of ultimate courage between a Father and Daughter and how it changed everything…

My Dad passed to spirit on 25 June 2011.

When I arrived at the hospital (after a 270 mile race up the M1!) my Dad whispered to me that he was so ready to die, but didn’t know how. He was frightened. I was so scared for him and felt helpless. What do you say? How should you act in a situation like this?

So I did nothing except sit next to him and hold his hand. I was physically present, but inside, my heart was falling apart. I continued this vigil for several hours.

These hollow words kept echoing in my head: Be strong and be brave.

There were 11 of us around the bedside (family and friends). We just sat in silence waiting and watching as he stopped interacting with us and drifted in and out of sleep. The silence in the room was broken only by the sound of his breathing and this became our focal point. I felt the room fill with a thick blanket of fear that surrounded and engulfed us all.

We were all scared of hearing that final breath.

I couldn’t stand the intensity and felt compelled to do something. So I left the room and spoke with Ward Sister. I asked her if my Dad could still hear us. She said that she thought he could. She told me that he was very strong and he may not die for a few days. Then I remembered my Dad’s words from the morning: “I’m so ready to die now, I just don’t know how.”

Something happened inside of me at that moment and it changed everything.

I got clear that I wanted to help him find his own courage to let go. I sat beside him and decided to coach him through this last journey.

I had no idea what to do! And Yes! I was shit scared!

I had no idea how to help someone pass. I’d never seen anyone die before. Deep inside I opened my heart and my intuition took over. Something told me to talk to him about his life and to support him through this ultimate challenge. I remembered how he’d taught me to drive and encouraged me through. His words of encouragement had always made the difference.

Something shifted for me. It was like changing gear. I opened up my heart, leaned through my fear and reached out to him.

My Dad was so courageous. He opened his eyes and connected with me, smiled, tried to speak and within 20 minutes he had passed peacefully. I spoke with him constantly through this time, talking about his life and through my words I helped him to let go.

It was the most beautiful and profound experience of my life.

I am no different from anyone else on the planet. Everyone has to be brave at times in their life, whether it’s standing up to someone, sharing your heart and speaking honestly about something, quitting the corporate world to start your own business, or saying goodbye to a loved one for the last time.

There are times in our lives we all have to find extra courage. When you need courage the most you never see it coming, it appears as if outta nowhere and creates a positive ripple effect on you and those around you. It can change everything.

This is so poetically described in the lyrics of Christine’s beautiful song called Right Outta Nowhere (see the lyrics at the top of this article). I never realised the true depth of what they meant until this year.

I know that courage is always waiting at the other side of fear. If you get clear and reach through your fear, you’ll find a deeper level of courage that is pure, beautiful and always there for you…Always. It’s deep in the core of your existence waiting to be let free.

What are you finding the courage to do?

Connect to your heart and reach through your fear.

LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat 11-13 November 2011

By , September 28, 2011 1:46 pm

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