Since Covid, I’ve noticed both in my own interactions and in the media that people are more aware of their wellbeing. There are many aspects to your lifestyle which can affect both your physical and mental health (and one affects the other). This article addresses a few of them – hopefully you’re already applying most of them!
The pandemic has forced many of us to slow down and take time to think. Whilst there are many benefits to this, it can also be quite scary; our usual busyness can shield us from facing important topics.
Last month’s article was about reconnecting with your purpose. This month, we talk about emotional courage – what it is, why people avoid it, and some practical guidance to help make it easier.
For example, if you have come to believe that you’re in the wrong profession, it will take emotional courage to admit that you want to change your career path and start something new. If your new plans are radically different, you could feel overwhelmed. You might face an initial drop in salary. It can also be hard to tell your family and friends, especially if they encouraged you down your original path. But – if it’s what your heart wants – it’s worth doing.
Another example could be when facing a difficult conversation. We can often feel nervous about potential conflict, or worry that the other person might become angry, or fear we’ll react in an overly defensive way.
A key mindset is to know that things are always going on which are outside anyone’s control. How do you sit with that uncertainty? What emotions does it bring?
During the last six months, many of us have had more time to sit and think about our life pattern than we have before.
Connecting to your purpose helps you navigate through scary times; it keeps you grounded to who you are and what you want to be in the world, and helps reduce any panic or fear you might be feeling because you focus on your direction instead.
This article includes ideas to help you reconnect to your purpose. To inspire you to think what you want your legacy to be so you can live that now.
When you consider the idea of leaving a legacy, many people jump to the conclusion that it means leaving money for your family, friends or charity. But what is the legacy you want to leave the world? How have you lived your life to help others and leave the world a better place?
Whatever you do (or don’t do) in life, you are making a difference, paying it forward and handing it over to the next generation.
“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will.“
Our lives are so busy these days that it can be hard to find quiet time to rest, reflect and plan. In fact, being busy is praised rather than considered to be a problem. Many of us suffer from ‘busy mind syndrome’, where we get stressed and caught up in our thinking. As a result, we can’t easily make a decision about the best way forward. All this has a negative effect on our mental health.
Rather than giving you practical tips that are even more things to add to your ‘to do’ list, this article talks about a different way of being. It describes a philosophy of life that involves thinking less, so you can be more.
As you read it, concentrate on feeling how you respond. In a way, it’s about heart, not head. In line with the philosophy itself, you don’t need to think about it for hours and days and weeks and months afterwards. But – if the content soaks in and resonates with you – you might find this approach instantly or eventually reframes how you approach life and work events, and so reduces your stress and increases your mental health.
Shelle Rose Charvet has recently updated her bestselling book about the language of influence, Words that Change Minds. It is based on research across more than 30 countries since the mid-1990s, and was recently picked by Forbes as one of their best management books for entrepreneurs and executives.
The book helps you understand where people focus their attention by listening to the patterns of language they use. You can then adapt your own language accordingly, to collaborate and/or lead, and get the results that work for everyone.
To get people to go somewhere with you, you have to meet them where they are… Go to their bus-stop, and from their bus-stop, invite them to let the bus take them where you want them to be.
This article explores some of the concepts that might be useful when you are:
- Trying to motivate and influence people
- Considering who to have on your team, and the optimal mix of approach/style
- Developing your team members
- Leading your team, and embracing the strengths, diversity and needs of each individual to achieve great outcomes
- Deciding how best to allocate work between people
- Determining the best way to manage change
Much of this month’s content is contributed by one of my clients, Fraser McCallum. Fraser has a background in molecular pharmacology but has been working in pharmacovigilance, the science of monitoring the safety of medicines, for more than 20 years. Over the last few years, in discussion with many of his colleagues, he has dreamt of a future paradigm for pharmacovigilance, one powered by artificial intelligence. He is now Business Lead for Voyager, a program to deliver just such a future.
In this article, he looks into his crystal ball to explore the impact of artificial intelligence on the world of work.
What is authenticity?
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.
Here’s my definition:
- Being honest with yourself about who you are
- Accepting and loving who you are
- Bringing all of who you are to your work and relationships, and accepting the vulnerability you may feel with that
If you can do all those things with confidence and humility, you’ll find that many people will respond positively to you.
This article explains more.
This month’s article was inspired by an incident that occurred recently, and a conversation with a client that followed. Here’s what happened.
A couple of weeks ago, I took my teenage daughter for her usual horse-riding lesson. It was a cold morning and I would be sitting outside watching, so I grabbed the first hat and scarf I found in the cupboard as I left the house.
At this, she complained: “Oh Muuuum, for once can you look normal and cool instead of old-fashioned?”
I laughed – frankly, nowadays my very existence is embarrassing to her!
Later, I shared this story with a client who said: “My daughter is the same with me. When we’re out clothes shopping, she insists on telling me what I ought to wear.”
We both like to think we dress in a modern way, but it occurred to us that maybe we’ve become stuck in our minds about what to wear. We used to be curious about what was in fashion, but somewhere along the way, we’ve lost that curiosity. Perhaps fashion isn’t important (unless you’re Karl Lagerfeld…) but a curious mindset is.
In a world where agility is demanded, we have to be reactive and adaptive. Being agile means we don’t have to be perfect, but long-term plans are less concrete. Things can feel chaotic and out of control, and (depending on your personality/preferences), this can feel stressful.
In addition, according to research by Columbia University, busy-ness is a malady of our age, particularly in the US. Being too busy links to social status because it makes other people think you are sought after and in demand. This contrasts with 100 years ago, when social status was linked to leisure time. But maybe this needs to shift again! We are moving out of the knowledge economy where we are rewarded based on what we know – knowledge is not so sacred now it’s all on the internet.
So how can you look after yourself and focus, plan and be productive in this new world?
In 1984, a New York Times survey on social anxiety found that people’s top two fears were walking into a room full of strangers and speaking in public. Death came third. (That means most people would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy.)
Being able to speak in public is an important skill to develop, as it has so much impact on how you are perceived and the influence you have on others. It builds your personal brand, helps you promote your department, and ultimately, benefits your career. It can inspire and shift mindset, and set the path for success by engaging the audience (maybe your organisation) to a new direction or initiative.
Once you’ve reached a certain level in your career, you’ve probably had some training to improve your presentation skills. So you might think you know it all already, But, like anything, best practice evolves over time.
This article explores the latest thinking on presentation skills, and is written in conjunction with one of my associates, Jackie Barrie. A professional member of the Professional Speaking Association UK & Ireland, and co-founder of the South East region, Jackie is an expert in getting your message across, whether on paper, on screen, or face-to-face.