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Leadership lessons from Cycling!

Over the last few years the Foresight team have had the honour of being involved and supporting the Cycle Against Suicide organisation. In March of this year, I had the privilege of bringing the Cycle Against Suicide SpinOff to Ashbourne in Co.Meath. Each year in Ireland over 600 people die by suicide, that statistic is frightening and it is higher than those that die in car accidents.

Each time I participate in a stage of the cycle or a SpinOff , I am struck by the passion and camaraderie of all the people involved led by the founder Jim Breen. There are many lessons we can take from this and I’d like to share some that I feel are intrinsically linked to leadership.

 

Common Purpose

CAS (www.cycleagainstsuicide.com) have a very simple yet powerful purpose that binds everyone together. It is to break the stigma associated with mental illness and to share the message “It’s Ok not to Feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for Help”

You can feel the emotional connection that everyone on the team has to this message. As I promoted the SpinOff to my local community – this message resonated emotionally with so many people and they wanted to connect to support and share this purpose.

In large organisations is there an awareness of their true purpose – what is the answer to the Why do we exist question?

 

Alignment

In leadership teams there can be so many competing priorities it can be difficult to focus on collective goals as opposed to individual goals. Alignment and clarity are critical to the success of every organisation. Each morning during the 14 days CAS cycle around Ireland in May, in excess of 1,000 cyclists are hitting the public roads to cycle 100kms per day. They all need to get to the final destination safely with everyone going in the one direction.

 

Communication – clarity

Communication was critical to the successful running of the event – clarity on location, start time route etc. Communication across the support teams Gardai, Marshalls, Medical support.   We engaged with people on facebook, email, radio, press, letters to local community groups, word of mouth via key influencers. When there is crystal clear communication, things work smoothly.

How often do people leave meetings in the corporate world and all have a different view on what was discussed and actions to be taken. What is the the cost, delay and confusion associated with this?

 

Awareness

Self-Awareness and awareness of others are 2 of the key cornerstones of Emotional Intelligence. Too often we are tearing through each day – thoughts in our heads racing along – heading from meeting to meeting – answering hundreds of emails, messages. What are we missing?

When you are cycling , your brain is forced to focus on where you are at, watching the road surface, and how close you are to the person beside you. A lack of awareness can result in a nasty injury. As a leader, how aware are you of your team and what is going on in their world. What is the impact of your actions/behaviours on your team. Are you causing a blockage or allowing them to shine?

 

Stretching outside comfort zone

As a novice cyclist, I started on this journey with buckets of enthusiasm and quite a lot of naiviety! I had never cycled more than 50km in my life and I was now embarking on a journey much greater than that. As we organised the SpinOff in Ashbourne , I heard a lot of comments – 50km it really far, I can’t do that, I’ll never get up the Hill of Tara. However, it was amazing to see how people developed strategies and support networks to ensure they completed the cycle. There is nothing like cycling along having the ability to chat and converse with others and the odd supporting hand on your back as you ascend some steep hills to get you to your destination.

In the working world, it is critical that we stretch ourselves to do something new and challenging – that is how we learn. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and stretched. Develop strategies and support networks to make this possible.

 

Play to Talents

As you can appreciate organising a charity event, there is zero budget or resources. However to make the SpinOff happen we need to get over 300 cyclists around 50kms route safely and provide refreshments. This was possible through the goodwill of many people. Early on we identified what needed to be done and where people had specific talents – be that in marshaling, organising refreshments, support vehicles etc.

In organisations, too often some amazing talents are hidden – it is essential as a leader that you create the environment where people can reach their full potential and let their talents shine.

 

 

 

 

 

How you can create a Climate that increases Employee Engagement

Recent Gallup surveys indicate that 63% of people are not engaged in their working environment – this means they are unhappy and unproductive and spreading this negativity to their colleagues. This is a major challenge for you.

Imagine if 6 out of 10 computer or machines in a business were not working at full capacity- they would be serviced and receive attention to get back to their full potential. If you think of a company building out their IT infrastructure or data centre- a lot of care and attention is given to ensure the environment is correct –air conditioning, space etc to ensure the servers do not overheat.

In a people oriented business, the same care and attention needs to be given to create the right climate. The climate created by leaders determines if their team fail or flourish. Leadership Climate measure how it feels to work around here which is really the step before engagement. A climate which is positive challenging and nurturing engenders trust in leaders and people feel inspired to perform to their potential and engagement levels are high.

climate

Leadership Climate can be measured and is seen as a set of Green or Red behaviours.

behaviours are seen as inspiringng and including

Behaviours are seen as controlling and withdrawing

climate1

 

Here are 5 ways you can build a positive Climate

  1. Measure it

First and foremost what is the current level of leadership climate in the organisation. How do people really feel about working here. Use a measurement tool such as leadership climate indicator to benchmark and measure the current reality.

  1. Talk it and live it

Be very aware of the Red and Green behaviours. Don’t just talk about positive behavior – ensure that all senior leaders are living positive green behaviours on a daily basis. It’s like parenting – children take their lead from what they see their parents doing. If you see your line manager actively behaving in a positive professional way – this creates higher levels of trust and you are more likely behave in a similar way.

  1. Welcome feedback and embrace it

Make it safe for your team to speak their truth, to challenge and debate. Feedback is the food of kings – it’s how you can develop and grow. Be comfortable with feedback and welcome it. Step away from the temptation to react emotionally. Be aware of the intention of the feedback.

  1. Regular communication

Communicate often and with clarity. Every employee in the business needs to understand the strategy and what’s going on around here. Ensure everyone gets regular updates on the strategy, results, key programmes.

  1. Celebrate Success

The pace in today’s workplace is so crazy – it can be difficult to sop and take a breath. It is really important to stop and celebrate successes – ensure all team members are included and all inputs valued. This does not always have to be a big celebration – a Thank you, phonecall, email, cup of coffee can work wonders for positivity. We all love our efforts to be appreciated and it works wonders for creating a positive leadership climate.

 

A focus on building a positive leadership climate has the benefit of increasing employee engagement, well-being and commitment which all contribute to increased productivity and profitability.

Just Lean Into It

Have you ever had a huge goal or task to complete that at the time seemed overwhelming?

It may be that you are currently facing such a challenge with a new target that your boss has just set you and you’re still in shock and don’t know where to start!

In July 2014 I took a decision to compete in the Copenhagen Ironman and left myself with just 3 weeks to get myself into some sort of shape, although I’ve completed various Ironman races previously, I’ve never given myself such little time to prepare.

From the moment of decision, I threw myself into a training plan with a sharpness of focus that was possibly driven by the fear of the potential pain of the race if I didn’t do the key sessions prior to the race. I leaned into the process (training) and finished the race.

I can also remember very clearly when I was in a sales role and had to make a load of cold calls to directors of various global organisations, at the time I had my boss and one of the top sales guys listening to every word waiting to give me feedback once I’d finish the call!

The sheer fear I had of picking up the phone to speak to a complete stranger who wasn’t expecting my call was terrifying, it had me in a vice like grip of not wanting to go near that phone, I’d procrastinate as much as I could to put off the inevitable! The truth of the matter was that I had to make the calls and I was turning it all in my head and thinking about all the possible negative outcomes from the calls I’d have to make!

Luckily for me, I was an account manager for a Mindset company and sure enough, once I’d spoken about my fears and was able to re-focus my thinking, it wasn’t long before I set new company records for meetings & workshops booked.

Ultimately, I just leaned into it and learnt by doing! Each time I made a call, I got a result, it might not have been the result I was looking for but I did get a result. Once I put the phone down, I got feedback from the more experienced guys who’d heard it all before, and they helped me navigate around that situation for the next call.

The same is true for you and your business, the most important thing is to make a start, that start is first made in your mind, it’s a decision that you need to make that you are going to commit to the goal and that you’ll do everything you can to see it through to completion.

Any ‘speed bumps’ that appear along the way are just that; they appear to help you pay attention to where your energy is required so that you get it right! (It’s just feedback, if you’re not getting the results you want) Results, whether they are good or bad, are decided in your own head. It’s better not to label them good or bad, it’s just a result!

A better way to look at it, is to unpick the actions that led to the results, results leave clues along the way and you can unravel the steps you took and tweak tiny bits in the process so that you get a different result for next time.

When the new targets land on your laptop or are presented to you at that meeting or even for  goals you’ve set for yourself personally or professionally, the first decision to make is whether you believe you CAN achieve them! If you don’t believe it’s possible, you’re in trouble from the start and there’s a really high chance that your sub conscious mind will conspire with that thought and ensure that you don’t achieve it!

We all know that last years target is likely to be pointing upwards for the following year, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that whatever you did last year is only going to go so far towards helping you hit the new target. You are going to have to change how you approach this new challenge, you are going to have to get on with it as soon as possible, before you lose to much time procrastinating and wondering whether it’s possible or not!

“Destiny is shaped in the moment of decision”. Tony Robbins

Some of the old strategies to get going are to just make a start, before you make a start you have to decide to start, I know this sounds silly but the decision always comes first, once you’ve made the decision, you need to follow it up with action and start gathering some momentum, before you know it, you’re on your way.

Below are some headings you might want to take a look at, have you set goals for these yet?

Health

Family

Professional development

Personal development

Relationships

Finances

Attitude

Social life

Let us know what other topics you’d like to read about, your feedback is important to us at Foresight.

Trust is the KEY

Building a high performing team requires a number of ingredients but if you’re looking for that team to be able to sustain that drive and enthusiasm towards a common goal, you will need to ensure that trust is solid within your top team. Some years ago I had a conversation with a businessman who had retired, he had previously ran a very successful company that he started in the post war era and very quickly I found out some of the core aspects of what allowed him to succeed. A lot of his personal learnings were his reflections of what he would have perhaps done differently, having said that, Trust back then played a big role in him building a flourishing business. The old school way of doing business back then was built all around being authentic, a hand shake would be as strong as any 20 page contract is nowadays! Maybe I’m being a little romantic with the idea of being able to do business is this way in todays constantly moving environment but there is something very special with knowing you can trust someone to be able to keep their word.

The Heart of Trust

If you attempt to get to the heart of trust and what that key ingredient is that builds trust, you wouldn’t be too far off if you plumbed for being able to keep you word, or in other words, being authentic. Unfortunately there are so many examples of where trust has been eroded time and time again across all aspects of our lives in the last 20 years, that it has become acceptable and even the norm.

Gazumping is one of the biggest examples most of us will have either heard of or experienced in our lifetime, when house prices were escalating at such a pace and people choose a higher bid over a previously agreed sale with someone else, this  was common place and eroded trust in the housing market. Looking through any newspaper around the world will expose a list of examples where trust is being knocked and the confidence you might have had in a leader is wiped clean because they’ve said one thing but done something completely different!

It’s no wonder that we’ve become conditioned to be cautious when dealing with another team member or someone new that might have their own agenda. Trust can sometimes takes years to build but can be blown apart within a heart beat, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something big that breaks the trust it can be as simple as someone not turning up on time. As leaders, we need to remember that we are being watched all of the time, our team are constantly looking for the small chinks / cracks in our behaviour where we might say one thing but then do something different!

3 Main aspects to Trust

1. Do people trust the strategic direction you and your team have taken?

2. Do people trust you personally?

3. Do your clients trust your organisation?

Keys to Building Trust

1. Being open & honest (Often it’s better to be up front and have the difficult conversation)

2. Deliver on your promises, that means keeping in mind the date that it is meant to be completed!

3. Communicate with great clarity and ensure that the team or person fully understands what is expected.

4. Listen with Empathy.

5. Being flexible, which may mean that you have to look at the bigger picture and the greater good of the team, instead of being focused just on your part of the business.

6. Show interest in the person or the project being discussed.

7. Be consistent, people will feel more trusting of you when act and behave in a consistent way. (Passive/ aggressive behaviour will not encourage people to be open with you).

8. Be aware of being over trusting, the goal is to be carefully trusting which will mean that you need to ensure you know the person’s capability and their motivation to be able to complete a task that you might assign to them.

9. Be present, sounds easy to do but so many leaders struggle with this one. Ensure that you see each conversation as an opportunity to leave a positive finger print. Being present means being fully aware of how you are acting and being in that moment whilst with that person and that you are not looking to end the interaction to rush off to something else.

10. Schedule regular Check – In’s with your team and each individual to allow for some “them time”, this will encourage a more open dialog and reinforce that everyone is still on track.

Remember that the small micro signals that someone like James Bond might pick up during a conversation will give someone away when they’re not telling the truth or speaking their truth, to the trained eye these are like a cheap suit and easily spotted.

Ultimately, if someone doesn’t trust you, they aren’t going to buy whatever you are selling or attempting to put across, so check in with yourself to see if you really believe in what you are doing! Let’s face it, if you’re not convinced, then there’s little or no chance of others being bowled over.

Perspective

It’s so easy to lose touch with what’s important to us, whether that’s personally or professionally, most of us run so fast to stay on the treadmill of life that it takes what we call a life jolt to help us put everything into perspective.

If you’re lucky, the life jolt will create a deeper level of awareness around how close you are to the big rocks, those things that are immovable to you no matter what!

You probably know the story of the lecturer who as part of his presentation had a fish tank on stage with him, as he filled the tank with a few big rocks, he asked the audience whether the tank was full? A large number of people thought that it was but then the lecturer added some smaller rocks around the gaps, once finished, he asked the audience whether it was now full? Of course, they were now wise to this and said a cautious no! He then proceeded to fill the gaps with sand and again, once finished asked whether the tank was now indeed full? Most of the people this time suggested that it was full, and then he finally added a jug of water!

His demonstration gave him the opportunity to show the audience that it would have been almost impossible to get the big rocks into the tank if they were placed in there last, he was able to reinforce the message that in life you have to take care of the big rocks first and then all the other stuff fits around those big rocks. Usually it’s not until you have a life jolt that this sort of wisdom comes to the surface in our lives, again this could be personally or professionally. The loss of a friend or family member, it could be a loved one going through a tough time with an illness, at work it could be a merger and your whole professional life is turned upside down or a demotion. It’s not all doom and gloom, a life jolt can be very positive as well, a new born baby can certainly change your perspective and transform your presence to what’s important.

What’s your purpose?

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for a life jolt to show up in your life to ensure you stay on track and in line with your core values, you can simply take some time for yourself and walk yourself through the following process using Robert Dilt’s model below.

Understanding Dilt’s model

Purpose moulds our identity which shapes our values & beliefs which influence our capabilities that direct our behaviours which in turn determines the results in our environment.

Purpose

Identity

Beliefs & Values

Capabilities

Behaviours

Environment

From the top down, you can look at this model and apply it to your personal life and spend some time considering what your purpose is? (This may take a little time, sit with that question for as long as it takes! It took me 6 weeks)

Once you have defined your purpose, that will naturally flow into the cascade that flows in the model. As a business we use this model to help organisations get a better sense of what their True North is.

Check in with yourself

There are other things you can do to quickly check in with yourself, you can calibrate where you are on a scale of 1 – 10 in terms of whether you are close to your big rocks or not, once you’ve scored yourself, you can pay attention to what’s preventing you from staying focused on the important things, where’s the slippage coming from?

Keeping a journal

A very powerful way to staying present to the things that are important is to continue to take notes of all of the things that you are grateful for in your life. This would include all of the potential annoying people who are just there as your teachers! Showing you that you might still be judging or critical to others!

And finally, here’s something to think about in terms of perspective. What do you see in the below picture?

anglesbats

Psychologists used to use images like this to determine if someone was crazy or not. If they saw the bats, they might say that the individual was possessed by the devil! And if they saw the angels, they could also accuse the person of being insane, because they’d say that by not seeing the bats first, you are ignoring the obvious signs of the devil. Eventually the subject would get confused (much like you may be right now) and they’d have the perfect excuse to lock them up in an insane asylum!

Life-Work Balance

On the 28th April we are taking 2 weeks out at a busy time of our year to support the Cycle Against Suicide charity in Ireland that has become really important to us as a business, we will be cycling 1,400km’s around the island of Ireland & Northern Ireland to raise awareness around the key message of “It’s OK not to feel OK and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”.

I guess it could have been any charity but it isn’t, this is about raising awareness for mental health sufferers initially in Ireland & Northern Ireland with the intention to spread the word globally. The reason it is something we feel very committed to as a business is that it is completely in line with our Purpose which “Is to change the way people see themselves and the world”.

If you look at what lies at the core of mental illness, there will be a common aspect of low self worthiness which links to low self esteem, I was lucky enough to be part of this new charity last year and although we’re talking predominately about depression, the whole experience was extremely uplifting! Complete strangers would open up and share their stories, it takes a lot of courage to be able to be comfortable to hold that vulnerable space and share your deepest darkness thoughts and feelings and that’s what the cycle ride allowed to happen. Being out amongst nature and exercising opened people up and created a real sense of oneness.

What became apparent to me through that experience last year was that we are never really alone, there’s always an opportunity to pick up the phone or go and see someone if you need support, again, it takes courage to ask for help but whenever I’ve asked for help, the response has always blown me away. It is also in our power to be hyper sensitive to where we could perhaps support someone who we know might need a little extra ray of sunshine in their day, we can chose to go the extra mile and deliberately leave a more positive finger print.

The latest data in the field of positive psychology is that you need a ratio of 3 positive thoughts to counter 1 negative or 3 acts of kindness will work in the same way, simple things like holding a door open for someone, giving a smile away to a complete stranger or dare I say it, letting someone in front of you on the motorway even if you are in a hurry! There are loads of kind acts you could perform throughout your day, just because you can!

I personally have been caught in some dark and lonely places but luckily for me, it’s never really lasted for months and then led into years worth of suffering, what I’m attempting to say here is that it’s not been a permanent issue for me. I’ve always seen that I have had a choice in whether I sit in that dark place or whether I chose to see it as an opportunity to grow. We often think about having a bad day but when you really look at it in detail, it’s rarely a day full of bad! If you can look at the bad experience as a bad moment and make sure you don’t make it worse by continuing to retell the story over and over to yourself and other people, this will short circuit it into becoming a bad day!

joykid

Remember the energy that kids have or tap into your own memories of being a kid and being outside  playing and exploring with your friends when you were growing up. Reconnect to that childlike energy and become more curious with the things that show up in your day, you’ll notice that you can get more from your day when you use your imagination and creativity more frequently.

Here’s some really powerful words from Mother Teresa which you can draw strength from.

 

 

The Final Analysis

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self – centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is all between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa

 

Here’s some more inspiration:-

 

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world. Anne Frank

 

Here’s some useful things you can do to build your happiness scale:-

  • Do kind things for others
  • Thank the people you’re grateful to
  • Find three good things each day
  • Look for the good in those around you
  • Bring mindfulness into your day
  • Find your strengths and focus on using them
  • Get help if you’re struggling
  • Help kids build emotional resilience
  • Use positive parenting techniques
  • Volunteer your time, energy and skills

 

betterway

Change

Before I start on the topic of change, I thought I’d just share some stats which will give you something to think about.

  • 90% of who we are has been wired by 35!
  • 1% of your cells are replaced every day.
  • Taste buds live only a few hours.
  • Your white blood cells live for about 10 days.
  • Muscle cells live about 3 months.
  • 30% of your cells are replaced after a month.
  • That means, there’s a new you in a season!

Movement or the lack of movement also has an impact on cell growth or decay, a sedentary lifestyle hastens cell decay! An active lifestyle hastens cell renewal.

I find this topic of change so interesting, we all tend to do battle with change but it’s the one thing that remains consistent in our lives, change is happening around us all of the time, it’s natures way. Whilst you’ve been reading this post, you will have gone from thinking about something else to now focusing your attention onto this topic of change, your breathing pattern will have changed, your position in your chair may have changed etc…… You see there’s change happening in every aspect of our lives and yet we don’t give it much thought.

The really exciting news is that even though 90% of who we are has been wired by the time we hit 35, all the latest data in neuroscience confirms that it’s not hardwired for life, you can rewire your thought patterns and create new habits, thus creating new results in your personal & professional lives.

Awareness is the Key to Change

Which of these chapters do you see yourself in?

1. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down another street.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

To be able to change anything about ourselves, we need to be awake and become aware of the patterns of behaviour that we run or perhaps closer to the truth, the patterns of behaviour that run us!

Our biggest challenge is that we have become so comfortable with what we know, even if what we know isn’t even serving us well. We’ve all had years worth of conditioning that we need to unravel and then mindfully think our way to creating from a more powerful foundation, one that will be sustainable and allow you to flourish.

Things to think about:-

  • Has someone else achieved the change you’re looking change in yourself?
  • Stay focused on the positive outcomes of the new change you are looking to create.
  • How will you feel once you’ve achieved the new change or goal?
  • Think about all of the new opportunities that will come your way once you’ve created the new habit.
  • What else will you attempt now that you’ve been able to change other aspects of yourself?
  • You might meet your future partner at the gym because of the change you’re making.
  • Like anything new, it’s all about taking small steps toward your goal on a daily basis.

Some great quotes around change

Be the change you want to see in the world. Gandhi

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy but it gets you nowhere! Unknown

What happens if you keep on photocopying a photocopy?

They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Andy Warhol

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Does “POSITIVITY” really work?

If you ask the question, I guess you’d get a lot of people just saying yeah of course being positive works, it’s fairly easy to see the impact of how being positive can have within a sporting context, when either an individual or a team are competing on the world stage.

I’m sure a lot of people have seen a number of sport related movies with the rousing half time speech from the coach, asking the team to go the extra yard and then the team goes on to win.

But does it have much impact in the workplace?

Can you just switch it on?

It all starts with Awareness, there are some fundamental foundations that will help before we get started or will help if we can calibrate where we are starting from.
Just by using the scale of 1 to 10 will help you check in with yourself to see where you’re at right now, 1 being not particularly great or ready to jump out of bed, and 10 being really excited and can’t wait to start your day.

I’m sure you can remember one of those days when you’d really prefer to have a duvet day, you might calibrate yourself at a 3 or 4 but you have to drag yourself out of bed because you have an important meeting with a client. To compound things, you’re late getting into work and your boss wants you to walk them through your presentation before you head out to see the client.

Your boss gives you some “feedback” that doesn’t really fill you with confidence and you then have to somehow pick yourself up and be in a positive mindset for your meeting! At best, you may well still be calibrating at a 3 or 4 but most of us mere mortals might even spiral further out of control and end up further down that scale and be begging our confidence to show up!

The good news is that I’m sure you can remember those days where you are calibrating higher up the scale, maybe a 7 or 8 and when you wake up, you bounce out of bed and are excited about your day ahead and the meeting you have with your client.
You get to work early so you can tidy up any e-mails that you need to respond to from other clients.

And in advance of this important meeting, you’ve asked your boss for some time so you can practice your presentation and get their feedback so you can make any final tweaks to your pitch.
Your boss gives you some great “feedback” which you take in your stride and adjust the slides before you head on out of the office for your meeting, probably at worst still calibrating at a 7 or an 8 or maybe even up a couple of notches because you’ve had time to rehearse your pitch and you’re feeling really confident.

Two very different scenarios with unless you’re very lucky, two very different outcomes from your client meeting!

Barbara Fredrickson’s book on Positivity dives into her own research but also pulls together other studies to look the difference being positive has on performance, well being, resilience, longevity of life amongst other important indicators.  It supports what we all probably knew already and it adds to the argument that you can switch positivity on when you need to raise your performance.

To stay in a healthy positive mindset, you need to have a ratio of 3 – 1, so for every negative thought you need 3 positive thoughts to counter any negativity. Simple things like getting pumped up before doing your presentation by saying positive things to yourself about being fully prepared and excited, does have an impact and will push you up that scale of 1 – 10.

Being resilient is becoming a big attribute that companies are looking to build within their organisations and it’s no wonder why, being able to bounce back quickly from any set backs is becoming a competitive edge in the corporate marketplace. Positivity plays a big role here!

Recommended reading linked to this article

Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson

Flourish by Martin Seligman

The biology of belief by Bruce Lipton

The Mirror is always right.

There’s no getting away with it, if you want the truth you will get it when you look in the mirror.

Whether it’s as simple as looking at your physical appearance to check out how you are progressing towards your fitness goals or if you are doing a deeper dive into other aspects of your life, it never lies, the truth will always be there!

You can fool yourself but if you are willing to be truthful it will be plain to see!

The mirror principle is a powerful coaching approach and requires the individual to look at what is showing up in their lives and take 100% personal responsibility for everything.

The main challenge people have with this simple yet highly effective tool, is that it’s easier to blame circumstance, other people, the global economy and a whole host of other excuses so that they don’t have to look at how they are responding to the curve balls that life throws.

The curve balls will be different for all of us, but when they happen, we all have an opportunity to respond in an emotionally intelligent way, that will then determine the fingerprint you end up leaving in that moment.

Whenever I’ve pulled on the thread and unravelled it all the way back to the start, it’s always led back to me doing something which is now showing up in the current moment. The simple principal of cause and effect is really what I’m talking about here.

If you look at the results you are currently getting right now in your life, the predecessor to it all will be a series of thoughts and behaviours that have led to the results. Ultimately, you will have had a choice in every decision you have had to make along your journey.

When we choose to avoid the mirror work, we miss the opportunity to find out what’s really going on and in turn miss the opportunity to learn and grow.

As a leader, it’s easy to fall into the bear trap of blaming your team members for a poor result and it’s where most of us would usually go,  most of the time it’s in an attempt to get a change in their behaviour to get a different outcome.

Once again, whenever I’ve sat with a leader in a coaching session and asked them to unravel where this all started, they very quickly realise that it sits with themselves. It always links back to something they’ve either said or not said that has triggered the resulting thoughts and behaviours in their team members, which in turn has led to the results!

Being fully present and crystal clear in every conversation you have will have a dramatic effect on the results.

The real gems in learning come from doing the mirror work, it’s tougher but the short and long term growth will improve your performance and your relationships with everyone you interact with at home and in your professional life as well.