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An epidemic of overwhelm

2nd June 2017

OverwhelmWe live in a world where we are bombarded with information all of the time;  emails, social media, TV, requests from your team and family members, not to mention the random thoughts that go through your head.

Our brains are always on!

Your brain is an amazing instrument and we take it for granted. It runs our body, controls our movement, enables us to speak effortlessly and provides us with the capability to plan, problem solve, create and prioritise. How often do you take time to give it some maintenance or TLC? For most of us this happens when we are asleep, assuming of course you get a good nights sleep.

With all of the research in the neuroscience arena we have more information on how the brain works. With some conscious choice over how you engage your brain you can manage the overwhelm. You can change your habits and strengthen your mind to improve your professional life. One of the best books I’ve come across is by David Rock Your Brain at Work

Your brain has 5 key functions

In it he explains your brain has 5 key functions:

  1. Understanding new ideas
  2. Deciding, making choices based on what we know
  3. Recalling information
  4. Memorising, paying attention to something long enough that it is embedded in long term memory
  5. Inhibiting, preventing some thoughts and actions

These combine to enable us to plan, problem solve and communicate. However, our brains can only hold a small amount of information at anyone time. Despite what we may think!! Some recent research by Nelson Cowan at the University of Missouri, found that it’s likely to be 4 items and that depends on the complexity of the four items.

Thinking uses up energy and prioritising is one of the most draining activities we can undertake, it uses up glucose and oxygen fast! When we are overwhelmed we are likely to trigger more adrenalin and cortisol and too much of this can be debilitating, especially when it sends us into our stress zone.

So, on a day-to-day basis what can you do to manage your brain, and therefore your energy, more effectively?

Declutter your brain

Here are 4 things you can do to engage your brain more effectively:

1. Capture your thoughts on paper, on an electronic note pad, rather than holding them in your head. Remember your brain can only hold 3 to 4 ideas at any one time, so give your self the space to think. As a coach of mine once said ‘your brain is a thinking device not a storage device.’
2. Finish one task before you start a new one. The brain can’t perform one conscious process without it impacting your performance or accuracy. This will mean managing any distractions such as switching off your phone, email alerts and letting people know you are not available.
3. Simplify and chunk more effectively. Your brain learns complex routines by automatically grouping things into chunks, so break complicated ideas into their core elements so they are easier to manipulate.
4. Automate more of what you do by creating routines. This uses less thinking energy as routines become hardwired into the brain. Think about how you use your computer, my guess is there is little conscious thought goes into how you use it.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and would like some additional support email me to set up and free discovery call to explore how we could work together.

“There is no such thing as multitasking, only task switching … it can feel as though we’re super efficiently doing two or more things at once … in fact, we’re just doing one thing, then another, then back again, with significantly less skill and accuracy than if we had simply focused on one job at a time.”
Christian Jarrett

Can you learn to have greater personal impact and presence?

17th May 2017

Personal Impact and presence

 

Can you learn to have greater personal impact and presence?

Yes!

I’ve had years of practice.

As I reflect on my life and career developing a greater personal impact and presence has been a bit of a life long project and I’m still learning!!

I was one of those kids who would be at the back of the group and not say much. The last thing I wanted to do was bring attention to myself and be seen. I wasn’t very confident. That all began to change when I got my first full time job at 16 where my role was to interview people for work. It was one of the defining moments in my career. I had to present myself confidently and look as though I knew what I was doing…

Fast forward 20+ years, to the end of my corporate career where I was leading teams of people through change. I was really just beginning to understand what personal impact and presence was all about. Whilst I may have looked and been more confident I wasn’t always aware of the impact I was having.

I’ve learned even more since then and what I know now is it’s about how you physically show up and the emotional qualities that underpin this.

You my be sitting there wondering ‘so what’ or why is it important?

You are judged by the impact you have on others, so you set the tone and standards for those around you.

It’s not good enough to just ‘show up’ and hope for the best.

Here is a simple framework to help you develop and fine-tune your own personal impact. There are four elements and I’ve provided a summary below.

Physiology

How are you physically showing up as a leader?

Most of what we communicate (53%) is through our physiology. Think about how you hold yourself when you are walking, sitting or standing. What are you doing with your hands? How are you breathing? What facial expressions are you displaying?

How you actually present yourself really matters and it’s the quality of how you show up that counts.

This is the foundation piece for presence and impact.

It’s reflected in the quality of the relationships you build, the levels of safety and trust that people feel when they are with you, and in the working environment that you create.

Purpose

Purpose is all about your intention in any situation.

How often do you go into a meeting with a very clear intention of what you want to achieve from it?

How often are you clear about what you want (your intention) from others?

To be an effective leader your actions have got to match your intentions.

If you are thinking one thing and saying another people pick up on this.

When you are clear about your intention how you act and what you say will be completely congruent.

Leadership is about connection, so ensure you connect in some way with everyone you meet. You have to take the other person into consideration when thinking about your impact.

When you’re thinking about your intention for a one to one meeting think about these four things:

  1. What is your current relationship with them?
  2. How do you want this relationship to develop?
  3. What is the purpose of your meeting?
  4. How do you need to be (physically and emotionally) in this meeting?

Present

Think of being present as where you put your attention.

I am sure you have been with someone and thought that they were not really with you their mind was somewhere else.

And, when someone seems distracted in a meeting, you notice that too.

So here are some questions to consider:

How often are you really present with the person in front of you?

Are you waiting to speak rather than actually listening with an intention to understand what the other person is saying?

Do you find you are thinking about something else rather than what someone is actually saying in a meeting.

Being really present gives you presence and the other person will feel it.

Practice

How ever you show up as a leader it’s taken you years of practice. And, as humans, it’s very easy for us all to stick with our normal pattern of behaviour and forget to do something new.

The way we respond to situations is often habitual. The patterns we all have of reacting to the external world have become ingrained and automatic to us. To build mastery as a leader, we need to be more than just our automatic self.

It’s only through conscious practice we can change this.

Think about how you learned to ride a bike, drive a car, learned to swim or any other activity that requires your co-ordination. It took practice; you made adjustments and kept practicing.

Learning to have a greater impact and leadership presence is no different.

What are you going to practice?

If you are interested in finding out more about this model download my free mini coaching series here.

‘We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their impact.’

 

What’s Your Focus? Organisational Culture or Climate

28th April 2017

Culture or Climate

Organisational Culture & Climate: Why is this important to consider?

As organisational culture consultants we regularly get asked how measuring culture is different to measuring employee engagement. Many organisations have processes to measure and monitor employee engagement, so why look at culture? This is a great question. To answer it fully, we need to look at the difference in Organisational Culture and Organisational Climate.

Organisational culture

Culture is defined as:

“the patterns of behaviours that are encouraged and discouraged by people and systems over time”

Ned Morse et al.

The culture of an organisation provides the boundaries and guidelines that help employees know the desired way to perform their roles.

It is ingrained in many aspects of the company, for example;

  • Through the behaviour of the leaders, managers and employees
  • Through the reporting hierarchy structures
  • Through policies (e.g. travel policies) and procedures (e.g. recruitment)
  • Through systems such as IT systems (e.g. ease of use) or operational systems (e.g. attitudes to safety)
  • Through symbols in the organisation (e.g. the look and feel of the buildings)
  • Historical legacies (e.g. excessive property portfolios, poor IT systems)

For this reason, culture can be thought of as the ‘personality’ of the organisation. It is both visible and invisible, but is mainly driven by the invisible culture drivers. These are the learnt ways of working and thinking, assumptions, habits, traditions, and norms that over time have become engrained into the culture – ‘the way we do things around here’. As culture is so engrained, it is a long-term phenomenon.

These invisible culture drivers are difficult to measure and hard for people to articulate. This is why at NDC, we use Culture Groups to understand the full detail of these dynamics.

The culture of an organisation creates a unique atmosphere that is felt by employees. This is known as the climate of an organisation

Organisational climate 

Climate is defined as how members of an organisation experience the culture of an organisation. If culture represents the personality of the organization, climate is the organisation’s mood. The climate of an organisation is subject to change frequently and can be shaped by leadership, organisational change (e.g. redundancies), the loss of a key client, excess change etc.

Organisational climate is much easier to experience and measure than organisational culture. Employee engagement surveys have mainly focused on measuring organisational climate, management behaviour, employee motivation, collaboration etc. Traditional employee engagement processes tend not to capture the impact of systems and structures and focus more on behaviour.

The executive also needs to assess the influence of the external environment on the organisational climate. An organisation may be buffeted by adverse business conditions/market, and so may have low scores on aspects of “climate”. However, organisations with strong cultural attributes can weather those storms better than others.

Case Study

Nedbank in South Africa has built a strong corporate culture. Nedbank proactively strengthened the company values which promote accountability, focusing on meeting the client needs and building a positive brand image. As a result of strengthening their culture Nedbank bounced back stronger than many of their competitors, despite being impacted by the global financial collapse in 2008/09. Nedbank’s consistent efforts led the bank receiving a range of awards including The Financial Times and Banker Magazine’s South African Bank of the Year 2011.

Your role as a Leader

Leadership behaviour is important as it impacts both ‘mood’ in the short term and through culture change initiatives, they may have a considerable impact on the culture. Leaders need to focus on both culture and climate.

While introducing long-term culture management there will be resistance, reflected in the employees ‘mood’ but if they are included in the cultural change and the cultural mindsets and ‘can-do-attitudes’ are addressed, the company can build a stronger, resilient, adaptable culture for the future.

This article was written by Martin Egan of NDC experts in culture change and alignment.

Actions speak louder than words – How are you aligning behind your culture?

20th April 2017

Culture

In a recent Deloitte survey Culture and Engagement was the number one topic organisations are trying to tackle. 86% of respondents stated leadership was one of their most important areas to address.

What would you say?

Do you see the two being linked in anyway?

For me there is a clear link. One drives the other. If you want to drive the culture you need to understand it or it will drive you.

As a leader it’s not what you say that matters. It’s whether your actions back up your words. You are on show all of the time. People are watching you in everything you do; how you walk into the office, go for a coffee, greet people who enter your office space and how you interact in meetings.

You set the tone and this, in essence, is part of culture.

The reason most people struggle with culture is because it is intangible. You can’t get hold of it. It’s the air you breathe, the soup you swim in. When you ‘fit in’ it feels natural. When you don’t it feels uncomfortable and it’s often hard to determine why.

Executives struggle to define what organisational culture is. This article provides the perspective of 25 executives ranging from ‘the soul of the company’ to ‘what is valued and rewarded’.

All are valid and the question for me is:

  • Do you understand the essence of your culture?
  • What drives it?
  • Where do you as a leader and organisation align behind it and where do you contradict it?

The culture of your organisation can be seen in how you reward people, develop leaders, recruit people, the office environment and the processes you have in place to get things done.

Does your culture enable or block your strategy?

A strategy that is aligned to your culture can only reap benefits. You are more likely to engage employees, customers, stakeholders and drive profitability. Where strategy and culture are misaligned you are more likely to struggle with customer retention, employee engagement and the delivery of your strategy.

The truth is, it’s easier to get a handle on your culture than you think. It can be measured. It will involve your time and looking in the mirror to determine how much you reinforce the culture that may be inhibiting you. However, if you believe that leadership is a continuous process of learning and development you’re up for the job!

If you want to know more about how culture can be measured drop me a line and we can chat.

“We can’t chart a new course until we find out where we are, how we came to that point and where we want to go.”

Brene Brown

The absence of trust and how it affects team performance

30th March 2017

The absence of trust - team development

The absence of trust in a team prevents  you as a leader achieving the best that you can be individually and collectively.

Great teams don’t happen by accident. They need work from everyone involved. As a leader it’s down to you to lead the way…

I’m a great fan of Patrick Lencioni’s work. He developed a model on the 5 causes that prevent a team functioning at its optimum level. The foundation of this model is the absence of trust.

Patrick say’s “ Members of great teams trust one another on an emotional level and are comfortable being vulnerable with each other.”

Great teamwork isn’t an intellectual process, it’s an experiential one. It doesn’t involve following a step-by-step process. It’s about connecting with others and we are all different!

Team members who trust each other are comfortable being open and sharing their feelings – whether they are positive or negative e.g. fear, frustration, excitement, optimistic.

To what degree are you comfortable being vulnerable with the team you are a leader of, or indeed a team you are a member of?

What to do if there is no trust

 It starts by being prepared to be vulnerable. This simply means being prepared to be truthful about who you are. For example saying “I don’t know how to do this’ or “I’ve never come across this before’, or “I made a mistake”.

You can do this in everyday conversations, however this alone will not effectively build trust across the team. One simple thing to do, which most organisations and leaders fail to do, is take time out. Have meetings and off-sites that aren’t about tasks and things to do, but about how we work together.

In preparing consider the environment you want to create. What is the message you want to give? Do you want people to me open and honest or hide ‘stuff’.

As a leader get comfortable with feeling exposed – putting yourself out there and being the leader!

The key ingredient is courage.

Are you prepared to take a risk without the guarantee of success?

Tools you could use

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Sharing personal histories There are several ways of doing this from sharing some personal information; your family, hobbies and challenges you’ve overcome through to a timeline of key events which led you to be the person you are today. The method you choose will vary depending on how developed the team is.

Behavioural profiling There are many tools to do this and one of my ‘go to’ tools is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Whatever tool you use, the aim is to get to know each other better. What motivates you as individuals. This is also a great building block to identify potential conflicts in the team.

Reviewing team performance You can do this on a monthly or quarterly basis. Ask each team member to appraise the performance of the team. What worked, what didn’t work and how could each individual have contributed differently to deliver an enhanced level of performance?

Developing an effective team takes time and it’s never a one off event. If you have ever worked in a really effective team you know the benefits it brings.

If you are struggling in getting your team to achieve it’s potential and would like some support email me to set up a free discovery call and we can explore new pathways.

“When a gifted team dedicates itself to unselfish trust and combines instinct with boldness and effort, it is ready to climb.”

 Patanjali

 

What’s trust got to do with leadership?

16th March 2017

Building Trust

 

What has trust got to do with leadership?

Well everything!

Leadership is about connecting with others hearts and minds. To get people to follow you in one way, shape or form. Those followers may be your team, your peers, your stakeholders, your manager, your customers or even potential team members…

What is trust?

A dictionary definition of trust is ‘ a firm belief in the reliability or ability of someone’. It’s not something you can hold. It’s one of those intangible qualities that is confirmed by an internal check. It’s not automatic. You have to earn the trust of another and it takes time to build.

It’s also a foundation piece of your personal brand. A great brand is trusted and relied upon by its’ users in any field of work and life.

How do you build trust?

Trust has many levels and it will depend on the context. For example; I may trust you to drive my car but not fix my washing machine; or I may trust you to do some detailed analysis but not to present to the Board.

This brings me to the first way to build trust – competence. Are you competent in the area of work, topic for discussion? Do you have the right amount of knowledge and skills? Are you able to demonstrate you can do what is required?

If you can demonstrate your competence then you’re part way there.

Another element to building trust being consistent. Are you consistent in the way you deliver, behave and communicate? If you are consistently late or don’t finish things you won’t necessarily get people on your side. They are unlikely to trust you to deliver and may request more updates and check on progress more frequently.

Finally, there is commitment. Are you committed to the task in hand, the team, and the organisation? Commitment is driven by your motivation and what’s important to you. It has an energetic quality that people intuitively pick up.

What can you do when trust is broken?

Trust is often broken when you have failed to demonstrate one or all of the above elements – competence, consistency or commitment. In many situations it is possible to regain it, however it won’t happen automatically. You can’t talk your way out of a problem that was created by behaviour. You have to behave your way back into trust.

The first step, if it’s possible, is to have a conversation. If you know the behaviour that created this ‘problem’, apologise and clarify what you will do differently. If you don’t know, or are not clear, seek feedback and agree a way forward.

My advice is to take action quickly. Distrust creates suspicion. People become more guarded and this can perpetuate into a downward spiral. None of us want that do we?

Trustworthy Leadership

When you gain peoples trust and seen as trustworthy things happen more quickly and costs go down. If you are not convinced of this look at those relationships where you know you are trusted. I’m guessing you take less time getting their buy-in and things happen quicker and more smoothly than it does with those whom you are just starting to build trust with.

How good are you at building and earning the trust of others?

  • Are you as a leadership brand trustworthy?
  • Can you be relied upon?
  • Do you feel those in your network trust you?
  • If not what’s your first step to changing the situation?

Trust takes time to build and can be destroyed in an instant.The benefits outweigh the costs, gaining and maintaining trust will enable you to be much more effective and efficient in all that you do.

“Anything that has value in life only multiplies when it is given.”

Deepak Chopra

The Heart of the Matter – Emotional Intelligence

20th February 2017

Emotional Intelligence

There has been much written about emotional intelligence showing the more emotional intelligent leaders are the most successful.

But what makes someone more emotionally intelligent than another?

There are many tools that will allow you to assess your EI (Emotional Intelligence) however; you don’t need to use them. You could do a quick self-assessment by reviewing these 5 elements:

Self-Awareness

This, for me, is the most important component and transcends all elements of leadership. My belief is that you cannot lead others until you first learn to lead yourself. Those with higher levels of self-awareness tend to be confident and self-assured. When you are self-aware you can recognise your own particular emotional reactions to situations. You understand your moods and how they affect others.

Self-Regulation

To have emotional intelligence, not only are you aware of your own emotions, you are also able to control them. You act according to the situation. You don’t suppress your feelings. You know the right time to express them and the right way in which to do it. You’ll be great at managing conflict and diffusing difficult situations. Something many of us struggle with. You also take full responsibility for your actions.

Empathy

You are able to ‘emotionally read’ others, to understand how others are feeling. If someone is feeling down or sad, you have the emotional toolkit to manage the situation without it impacting on your own emotions. You can bring people’s moods up without bringing yours down. You can earn the respect and loyalty of your team and stakeholders by showing them that you understand.

Social Skills 

Being able to interact with others is so important in all areas of life. It builds trust and respect. You need to know when to listen and when to act. Give praise where it’s due, communicate clearly and resolve any conflicts in a calm and controlled manner.

Motivation

Last but by no means least, is motivation. Emotionally intelligent people are motivated to achieve their own internal goals. It’s not just about money, status and recognition. They understand their values and how they inform their decision-making.

An Emotional Intelligence Exercise

This activity can be used whenever you want to understand what is causing you to feel in a certain way.

Albert Ellis (a psychologist) identified that every feeling has an activating event, which create a rational or irrational belief(s) and self-talk. When we act on any irrational belief or self talk our behaviour can be less impactful. If you have been in a situation recently where you know you could have handled it better use this process to identify what you could do differently next time.

Take an emotion that may be getting in your way, or you know you need to manage more positively e.g. anger, irritation, impatience, frustration.

Step one: Identify the event that triggered the emotion e.g. the comment someone made, the number of errors in a piece of work.

Step two: Identify the self-talk and beliefs you hold around the event e.g. He never seems to be happy with what I do! She never pay’s attention to detail – does she think I’m stupid! What ever you think or believe write it down – it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Step three: For each belief and statement list the consequences. How do you feel? What’s the emotion and behaviour it creates e.g. I become irritated and stop listening; or I get frustrated and start criticising others

Step four: Now identify how you want to be handling the situation differently and start practicing.

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” 

Golda Meir 

 

Are you the author of your life?

1st February 2017

Are you the author of your life?

  • Do you find that you are not getting what you want?
  • Are you feeling limited or stuck in some way?
  • Do you find that you are repeating patterns of behaviour, or phrases or ways of thinking that get in your way?
  • Have you settled for less?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes then I’ll bet you are living your life according to old patterns of thinking and conditioned ways of being.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can get whatever you want and be the author of your life if you are prepared to make changes to the way you think and perceive the world around you.

Why do we get stuck?

Being stuck, or thinking that you can’t do or have what you want is normal. We all have limiting thoughts about our abilities and it happens when we attach ourselves to the past or the future.

Often it’s due to an unconscious decision we have made in the past, and more often than not it’s driven by emotion rather than logic. We make choices thinking that having a certain belief will help us get what we want or keep us safe.

Being stuck is a mental state that becomes a habit because it’s driven by a deep-rooted belief.

Your brain drives your thoughts and your behaviour. When you are stuck in old patterns, the body responds automatically. When you are on ‘automatic pilot’, your habitual patterns play out so life seems repetitive.

Rising above your conditioned way of being

The first step to change is self-awareness.

Start by becoming an observer of yourself. It’s very easy to be critical of things that you do, particularly when it’s a habit you want to change. Additionally, being critical is more likely to close your thinking down. Instead open up your thinking, be curious and ask yourself questions such as:

  • How did I create this habit in the first place?
  • What is it about this situation that is causing me to behave in this way?
  • How do I actually feel right now?
  • What one thing can I do to begin to change?

Once you start to break an old pattern, you can learn new ways to operate and build more positive, enabling habits.

Practice is the key to being the author of your life

The thing that got you into this stuck state was practice. You took on thoughts, beliefs and actions, and repeated them until they became automatic. Therefore, it makes sense that a new practice will help you to become un-stuck .

To find the practice that is right for you be clear about what you want.

For some people this can be the real challenge. As a coach, when I first ask this question, I often hear ‘I don’t know’. The second most common response I receive is people telling me what they don’t want. For example, if I’m working with someone who wants to be more confident, they’ll tell me they don’t want to be nervous, or they don’t want to forget what they are planning to say, or they don’t want to stutter over their words.

This focuses your brain on what already happens – your old practice. Your aim is to train your brain to focus on what you really want. Get a crystal clear picture in your mind. Be as specific as you can. Think about what you will do, how you will look, what you will say to yourself – and write all this down.

Be consistent in your practice. Remember you are creating new habits that will help you live the life you want. Consider where you will practice, with whom, and in what situations. Then, do it!

A word of advice

Be patient! You are re-wiring your brain. It has been doing things in a certain way for many years. Start small and build on it. Praise yourself for small successes. Focus on what is working and adjust what isn’t

Think about the first time you got on a bike, or drove a car. You started by practising some of the basic actions and had support. You made mistakes along the way but through hours of practice you became competent

The same rules apply here. Be kind to yourself and find someone who will cheer you on as you make small steps to living the life you want.

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.”

Barbara Geraci

 

Polishing the Professional Mirror

11th January 2017

Personal Mastery

It’s the start of a New Year and I’m guessing you are already busy, rushing from one meeting to the next, problem solving, picking up a new project on an already full agenda, planning for the new financial year…

The Christmas break seems like a long time ago and all your best intentions for starting the New Year off differently are starting to falter.

I work with many leaders in a range of environments and the one thing they are all faced with is a world of increasing complexity, volatility and pace.

I’m guessing the same is true for you. So here is my question:

When do you get quality time to think?

When do you get the time to clear your head to make sense of the multi layered complexity and multi dimensional relationships of work?

Those of you who are very disciplined will carve out some time in the week to review what happened last week and plan your priorities for the coming week. Others may do this on a monthly or quarterly basis.

  • Does this provide you with new perspectives and understanding of what is going on?
  • Do you gain new insights into how you can tackle a situation differently to get better results?
  • Do you think about things differently?

We all have blind spots and it’s very easy for us to stay in a pattern of doing things and behaving in a certain way. When we don’t take time to step back and reflect our professional mirror can become a little dusty.

Here is an opportunity to polish that mirror and maintain its shine for the coming months.

Give yourself the gift of reflection

Every opportunity and activity we face is an opportunity to learn and see something new.

Taking time out to be reflective and engage in a purposeful enquiry provides you with an opportunity to look at the problem along with the players and the system you are working in. You’ll also notice your own thought patterns and reactions.

Working with a coach or mentor can provide different lenses and perspectives.

These added insights and support provide additional momentum in starting and sustaining new actions.

A recent client after several sessions commented:

“I’ve slowed down so much I’m quicker than I was before!”

So, if you’d like to rethink, resource and reenergise yourself to lead with more clarity, focus, purpose and wisdom send me an email and I’ll set up a call.

Show up more fully as the leader you were meant to be.

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

 

6 reasons why you might procrastinate

8th December 2016

Procrastination

As I was thinking about what to write today I noticed I was finding lots of other things to do… I was putting it off!

So, I decided this would be my topic – why do people procrastinate?

Here are the 6 reasons I came up with:

Task is too big

You look at what needs to be done and think it’s too big. Sometimes it is, and sometimes once you get started you realise it isn’t, the obstacles were only in your head.

If it is too big you feel overwhelmed.  When this happens the best thing to do is break it down into smaller tasks and do them one at a time.

You’re not interested

Whether it’s at home or at work you are just not interested in the particular topic, event, person or task. You just keep putting it off or, worse still, make up other excuses for not doing it.

If this happens first ask yourself is it part of your job? Will it help you with your job/career? Is this person someone you want in your life? If the answer to any of these is yes, it may be worth looking at the underlying reason and reframing it so it’s a more positive experience.

You don’t want to fail

You’ve never done what you’re being asked to do before. You don’t want to get it wrong, or look a fool. You might spend a lot of time doing research, or asking questions or just avoiding it.

My advice here is break it down into bite size chunks. You can’t make progress until you make the first step. Treat it as a learning experience and ask for help. It may surprise you how many people want you to succeed and will do all that they can to support you.

You are not motivated

You know you can do it. You know you can do it quickly but you’re just not motivated to do it right now. This is one that trips me up fairly regularly. Rather than beat myself up about it I recognise that I’m not in the right frame of mind. I then do one of two things, change the way I’m thinking about it and just get it done, or recognise I need to be in a different place and plan to do it another time.

Resistance

In this scenario you’re simply rebelling against the person or team who has asked you to do it. You’ll do it in your time when you’re good and ready!

Personally I find this the most unhelpful state to be in. It does nothing to build relationships. If you find you are in this space take some time out and understand where your resistance is stemming from. Is it real, or are you making up a story?? Often it’s the latter!

You’re a perfectionist

You need to have all the information/detail and the perfect time to make a start. You want to get it just right and now is not the right time – you’re waiting….

Next time you notice you’re putting something off – ask yourself which of these reasons (excuses) are getting in the way and then take action!

You’ll achieve two things by doing this:

  1. Greater self-awareness that will hopefully mean you’ll overcome this habit…
  2. Getting ‘stuff’ done more easily and probably effortlessly.

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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