I intend to share new thought-provoking questions and insights here every fortnight, to fulfill a desire to serve more people. As a coach, I have many conversations with the many people I am fortunate to meet and to serve. As I continue to learn that as individuals, our circumstances, challenges, strengths, limitations and solutions are more similar than different, I realise however that our best self lies in our uniqueness. I realise that we all need a simple but powerful compass to guide us through decisions, learning and actions. That compass is knowing ourselves – personal values, personal vision, strengths, weaknesses. My ease with meaningful conversations and my inherent curiosity led me to explore recording my learning, insights and thoughts. This has resulted in the “Who are you” series of podcasts aimed at people, irrespective of occupation and background, who wonder how good they can be, in and outside work.
Over the coming weeks, I will explore different challenges through the lens of knowing ourselves. Each podcast will suggest questions that require you to explore and reflect, culminating in a call for action. Stay with me and with me see how this develops over the coming months and years.
A CIPD report on 24th April 2018 said that its survey of 6000 British employees shows that regarding Work-life balance, “The average employee works five hours per week more than they would like to” and that “Nearly two-thirds (63%) would like to reduce their hours.”
In its article on Work-Life Balance, the Australian Institute of Business pointed out “In today’s fast paced business world, the ability to achieve work life balance is becoming more and more difficult. Employers expect more from staff, and we are increasingly putting additional pressure on ourselves to achieve greater results.” It went on to cite 3 reasons for you to aim for balance
Become less susceptible to burnouts which happen when you feel over
Pay attention where it is required – we now call it mindfulness
Experience fewer health problems and improve well-being.
Whilst employers have much to gain from working practices that support work-life balance, you are responsible for you. Do you need all you want? What if you really enjoy and are committed to your job? Does your attitude towards the job make a difference? Listen to my interview with wise and forthright Dr Georgie Cave, a GP in London.
Where does this shine a light for you and what will you now choose to do?
The Who Are You podcast #19 - Practical Philosophy
Brain’s ‘internal compass’ found By Smitha Mundasad, Health reporter, BBC News, 19 December 2014. This refers to a compass located in a specific part of the brain, which guides us in the physical world.
I’m convinced that there is also a compass for use in navigating the mental world or the world in our minds, with its needle pointing in the direction of our Personal Values and Personal Vision. The interplay between clear Personal Values and Personal Vision generates strong signals that guide attitudes, decisions and behaviour. Perhaps this is Practical philosophy. I skimmed the surface of this topic in an interview with Professor Philip Ogbonna, a Priest, philosopher and healer.
Listen, form a view and formulate an action to take. You may choose to do nothing and this is alright too.
The Who Are You Podcast #18 - Loosen the Grip of the Past
A writer in “The Weekend” said the joker in the Batman movies is his favourite character because you didn’t know his past but you knew his plans. As you watched him, I felt I only knew his present and could only guess at his plans.
For most of us, our past is dominant in our present and our future – people often know what they don’t want better than what they want. Your past is important but what in it has a grip on you and won’t let go? Do you even know when it started? Was it an action, event or a word which you decided what its meaning and intention? How much do the answer matter?
Perhaps a commitment to something outside yourself could give perspective and direct your energies towards the future. Could this loosen the grip of the past on you? Try it to find out and share your learning with us, here.
Look, if you feel you must explore the past to loosen the grip, perhaps you and I could discuss your beliefs about this grip. Tell me by email on this website and we’ll arrange it.
“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose” – Tom Wilson.
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present” – Jim Rohn.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
Happiness had always appeared relegated to home and leisure. As Well-being has become mainstream, it now seems more acceptable to discuss people being happy in work and business. Do we all believe we can be happy and do we mean the same feeling when we talk of happiness. What is happiness for you and do you know how to find and nurture it? Could you recognise what makes you happy without first knowing who you are?
Listen for some thoughts that may confirm or challenge your views. Something here might also prompt you into action to be happy.
The Who Are You Podcast #16 - Musings in the Middle
Are you feeling the squeeze from opposing sides, opposing demands, opposing desires? Are you tempted to play it safe and avoid taking a position? Is there a place and time for compromise and flexibility, and how could one recognise it?
Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature…Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. – Helen Keller
Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. – Teddy Roosevelt
The middle ground is at the same time pressure, balance, mediocrity, comfort & safety. It all depends on the situation. When one is in the middle, the key point to remember is to find oneself and be true to that self and from there engage with the situation. An authentic response would emerge.
Despite how it feels and how long you’ve been in the middle, you can still choose and feel you did. In Carl Jung’s words “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart…. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Four quotes, one message for when you feel self-conscious. “People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.” ― Saadi
“Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you’re making.” ― C.S. Lewis
“I used to care about how other people thought I led my life. But lately I’ve realized that most people are too preoccupied with their own lives to give anybody else even the scantiest of thoughts.” ― Douglas Coupland
Whenever you are self-conscious you are simply showing that you are not conscious of the self at all. You don’t know who you are… Your very self-consciousness indicates that you have not come home yet.” ― Osho
Then there’s Steven Fry’s take on the subject. “It’s not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.”
And now, listen to my views in the podcast. What’s yours?
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs.
Creativity is not just artistic. Creativity is much more, so the next time someone asks if you’re creative, consider that the best lawyers, engineers, scientists are often creative – they find new ways. Then, say you are creative and you will find where you actually are creative. The more you see this, the more you could allow yourself to see and explore new ways.
Where have you been creative today and where could you be creative tomorrow? I like the title of John Mason’s book “You’re born an original, don’t die a copy.”
Getting the success you want, is often considered to be a result of pure effort, luck, providence, intelligence, relationships or a combination of these factors. The quote by film producer, Samuel Goldwyn “the harder I work, the luckier I get”, suggests a confluence of factors. Some of these are outside an individual’s control, are they not? So where does one start?
“Not getting what you want is often wanting what you get” – Anonymous.
My view is that the starting point for getting what you want is knowing what you want and what makes it important to you. These provide the energy required for success and the language to share them with others. Knowing what you want also enables you to create a strategy to get it, starting from assessing your current position in relation to the future end-state. A strategy, not a plan. Used by successful organisations, it also works for individuals.
So, you may already be successful, in the way you describe success. On the other hand, you may not feel so successful. What else do still you want now and in the future? Listen for a few tips to add to your tool-kit, then share your own success tools and any other comments. Then take action.
Excellence comes from within and is the outcome of choice plus consistency of action. It is consistent high quality. Sporadic high quality is unreliable but excellence can be counted on.
Many organisations promise excellence but few deliver. So, what does it take to give excellent service? The suggestion is that it requires a service giver to connect their service to something important to them. An individual will consistently go the ‘extra mile’ when they have a personal reason to, in addition to any incentives, systems, procedures or directives that support them.
This episode is straying to the boundary of personal life with work. Listen and agree or disagree – engage us with a comment.
Energy is personal. Sometimes we have high energy levels, at other times the levels are low and there are times when we are just in-between levels, “ticking over”. We are powered by this energy which we have limited understanding of. Energy which fluctuates during the day and with each day. It is affected by several factors like our eating, breathing, as well as the temperature in the environment, the people around us and many more. This energy gives us potential to act when we choose, therefore maintaining a healthy state of readiness is important.
How much do you know about your own energy and how do you go about managing it? This podcast shares my own thoughts on the subject.
The key to making the most of your energy is to know yourself and understand what impacts your own energy fluctuation. If you then remain present, you will notice fluctuation and can make choices. Please share your comments with us.