Christine: Welcome, it’s great to have you with us here!

Gina: It’s great to be here, thank you.

Christine: This is Christine Till, and I’m the Marketing Mentress. One of the things I like to do is find people on LinkedIn who have great stories to share and I met Gina on LinkedIn, and I have a little bio that I asked her to send me. So let me give you a little synopsis of Gina and what makes her tick, and you’re going to be astounded with her story. It’s absolutely wonderful!

I’ll Start Living When….

I’ll Start Living When…. 10 Tips For Living In The Moment.

If you find yourself saying “I’ll do what I really want when… I’ve finished the project… when I’ve got that next promotion… When I make Director… When I have become a multi millionaire.”…

 If you miss a date with a loved one, or a important milestone in your child’s life, or you put off finding a soul mate until you are successful (on your terms)…

If you find personal goals getting in the way of living…

 

You need to understand time and how to live in the moment!

Whilst it does have a positive impact on achieving your professional goals, make no mistake such choices have a significant impact on your quality of life and your future emotional, spiritual and physical health over the long term.

There are three dimensions of time: the past, the present and the future. To live a healthy and productive life we need to balance living with all three.

Living In The Past

The past has much to teach us. Indeed life often throws us the same experience dressed up in a variety of guises until we learn the lessons. Let me give you an example. Why is it that so many people have one disastrous relationship after another? They choose the same type of people, behave in the same way and get the same results over and over again.

The goal is to learn the lessons the past offers us, and once we have, the ingrained beliefs can be transformed – as a result the choices we make and patterns of our behaviour change.

The past offers us all the opportunity to understand how what we believe drives how we behave. Learning how to behave differently is not as hard as you might think, being open to the possibility is often all it takes to start the process. Understanding that everything we do or fail to do is actually a matter of choice moves the process on enormously.

Lesson: If you stay stuck in the past, always looking back; either wishing that the present was as good as the past has been, or constantly regretting what has been, wishing things had been different – then the best that the present has to offer remains unnoticed.

 

Living In The Future

If your attention is always on the future, chasing the next goal, constantly striving for something just out of reach, you miss the precious gift of the here and now. The workaholic as an example: Workaholics often wake up to this realisation just as they retire from work. Living in the future runs the risk of waking up to find you have no personal interests, no one special to share your time with and no sense of who you are when you are not being the professional you.

Workaholics in my experience focus almost exclusively on the future and their goals both short and long term. They constantly defer living in the here and now as they are busy chasing the dream, which they believe will bring them happiness. Workaholics are convinced that they are working hard to provide a good future for themselves and their loved ones. They calculate the cost of a lost present very differently to their partners.

Getting the balance right is important, if you never give a thought to the future, you are likely to fall short of fulfilling your potential growth and find yourself in difficulty, financially if nothing else.

Lesson: In the ongoing struggle to achieve ever more success there is no time just to be… to stop and stare or to smell the roses. Talk to most workaholics and they have little idea how to relax and enjoy the moment. The concept is alien to them and they find it most uncomfortable. They see no reason why anyone would want to do it.

 

Living In The Now

Here are my top ten tips to learning to live in the moment, they are designed to fit in with a busy schedule and are just a starting point, they may appear inconsequential but done regularly they start to have a profound effect.

  • As you wake up each morning spend a couple of minutes breathing deeply. Breathe in deeply to the count of 2, hold it for 4 and breathe out to 4. As you breathe be conscious of exactly how each part of your body is feeling.
  • Tell yourself that you choose to be happy today and that you will find time to enjoy this day to the full. (Once past it is gone forever.)
  • As you take your shower or bath in the morning be conscious of how the water feels on your skin. Feel the temperature of the water and the sensation of the soap or shower gel on your skin. Contrast that with the roughness of the towel or the softness of your robe.
  • During the day stop and take a small amount of time to consciously notice your surroundings. Use each of your senses in turn, what can you smell or hear, look for the colour or texture of things around you. Be aware of how you are feeling. Even five minutes out of your busy day done on a regular basis will make a difference.
  • Smile, and make a conscious decision to make someone you pass in the corridor or lift to smile back. Be aware of how it makes you feel.
  • Create five small random acts of kindness during your day. They could be a simple as letting a fellow driver out of a side turning or helping someone with their bag. Notice how it makes you feel.
  • Do something, which makes you smile or laugh each day. Be conscious of how you feel when you laugh.
  • As you travel to or from work take the opportunity to observe an aspect of nature. Look at the sky – see the cloud formation or look at how the trees are moving with the wind, look at the individual petals of a flower, or watch the raindrops making a pattern on the train window.
  • Set time aside within your busy timetable. Plan your time over a week or fortnightly cycle. Set aside time each week to enjoy simply for now. A quiet time to walk with no other intention than to enjoy it, or time to spend with your significant other.
  • Just before you go to sleep think of five things that you have been grateful for during the day. They can be as small or as significant as you choose.

Maybe it is time to start living now rather than waiting for your real “life” to begin once you have achieved professional success. The danger is that by the time you are ready to “live” you may be on your own or your health will have suffered in the mean time.

 

 

Management Speak Top 10 Tips: It Is Not What You Say It Is The Way That You Say It

As a Manager you have a unique opportunity. You have the power to make a positive difference to each individual in your team, and at the same time, create a knock-on positive effect through them to everyone they deal with. But to do this, you need to communicate in the right way. Read on to find out my top 10 tips for managerial success through the power of speech.

 

Before diving straight in…

Lets get some essential information straight first – vital if you want to create a team of people who respect you as their manager.

Facts:

  • People sometimes say things in a way or at a time that makes others feel worthless or resentful.
  • Powerful messages often lose their impact because the recipient focuses on the bad delivery rather than on the real issue.

Knowing that it isn’t what you say, but the way that you say it may seem obvious, but there are other factors to consider:

  • Modelling good behaviour is a great way of teaching your team to be mindful of their behaviour too – so it is essential to communicate in the right way.
  • You can say really difficult things and still maintain a positive relationship with your staff.
  • The culture you create within your team, department or organization will make a significant difference to the way people will respond to your feedback.
  • When your team understand that you have their best interests at heart, constructive feedback is welcomed by all.

Think about the way people have said difficult things to you. What approach was helpful? What made you feel bad? As a Manager you have the opportunity to make a positive difference to each individual in your team and through them to everyone they deal with.

 

A few simple principles… My Top 10 Tips

If these are followed it can save an enormous amount of difficulty for you and for the person on the receiving end.

  • Always treat people with respect. Whatever they have done or failed to do, treating them as if they are idiots will get you nowhere in the long run.
  • Create a good rapport with the individuals in your team. When you need to give hard messages you will find the time taken to create good rapport and trust really pays huge dividends.
  • Public humiliation is never appropriate (however tempting it may be). You make an enemy for life, you are seen as a bully and your reputation will be damaged far more than you realize.
  • Consider why you are so angry, irritated, let down. The intensity of our own emotion is often more about us than it is about the particular incident we are dealing with. If you have a difficult message to deliver remember to focus on the learning you want to come out of it rather than how bad it has made you look.
  • Never fight fire with fire. If you are angry or upset it is much better to walk away and deal with it once you are in full control of yourself.
  • Plan what you want to say and why. Things said on the hoof often leave you with even greater problems for later. The more significant the issue the greater the need to plan.
  • Choose an appropriate place and time – balling someone out in the corridor is inappropriate.
  • Consider the tone of voice you use. Shouting, being dictatorial, and nagging all have a negative impact on the listener. Negative voices often bring up past issues and carry a punch with is disproportionate to the current event.
  • Challenge the unwanted behaviour rather than the person themselves. That way you are dealing with an isolated issue.
  • Never burn your bridges – it is a long walk round. Always look for a way forward. Involve the other person in creating a win- win solution where ever possible.

 

Why Nagging Your Workaholic Partner Is Not Working

If your partner is a workaholic you probably spend a lot of time feeling neglected, and like you take second place after your partner’s work. This frustration most likely comes out in a tone of voice that can only be described as nagging as you try and make you feelings clear, but the nagging never works.

 

This article focuses on changing that cycle, using the relationship between workaholics and their partners as an example, but you can use the principles when dealing with any relationship. Whether you are working with your partner, your teenage children or a work colleague the principle is the same.

 

When Nagging Gets In The Way

What you say, the way in which it is said, and the timing of when things are said, all have the capacity to widen the gap between you and your loved one if it is negative.

In fact, negative communication gives your loved one the impression that they can let themselves off the hook as they can rationalise your nagging as unreasonable, creating a barrier to them addressing the real problem, the cause of the nagging.

If you want things to be different you have to change old patterns of behaviour. Listening to yourself and understanding what that triggers in the other person is a vital step to creating a different future.

 

Familiar Patterns

Clients often describe how their partner will take the time and trouble to listen to a member of their staff far more readily than they do them or their children. Do the words “If they loved me enough they would want to spend time with me.” Sound familiar?

It is easy to make the assumption that it is lack of love which causes their partner to spend long hours away from them. Their frustrations and sense of loneliness take over and as soon as their partner gets home the frustrations spill over and they share how they are feeling and the recriminations begin.

 

Vicious Circles Of Repeated Behaviour

Like so many of the strategies we use when we are feeling un-resourced, this approach is incredibly unproductive – but despite the fact that the strategy rarely works, many partners find they go into nag mode knowing it is destined to fail and make them feel bad into the bargain.

Einstein’s definition of madness is to carry on doing the same thing even though we know it doesn’t work, yet millions of us continue to behave in a set way long after we know it is failing.

 

Understanding A Workaholic

To understand why nagging fails so often you need to understand what is actually happening, taking a step back will give you the opportunity to behave differently.

Why are people workaholics?

  • Sometimes because of some deep seated need within themselves.
  • Many are driven to succeed on terms that only they can define.
  • Some push themselves long after most people would feel highly successful.
  • Fear of failure rather than the pull of success can drive them.
  • A poor sense of self worth developed in childhood can be the motivation.
  • The need to feel significant by doing things for others is common.
  • External verification of worth drives others.
  • Some just feel more secure in their working life than in their personal life.

You know your partner well. Consider what is driving them? Think about the relationship they had with their parents, siblings or at school.

Partners in general will often respond disproportionately to a particular tone of voice or to being told that they have failed. It often hits a deep-seated raw nerve that has been created during their formative years. The nagging becomes synonymous with a parent telling them how useless they are or a teacher or class bully belittling them. This response is may be strong in your workaholic partner.

 

How To make A Change

Over the next few days listen to yourself. Put yourself into the shoes of the other person and consider how you would respond.

Be honest with yourself, but be constructive. This is not about blaming. It is about seeing more clearly why things have gone wrong and doing your best to find a productive way forward for you and your partner. Finding a win – win solution is always best. Making it a competition between you and their work is a risky business.

Over the next few days think about how you handle yourself when dealing with your partner. You are the only person you can truly control. Think about what you really want. If you want to change the relationship you have with your partner for the better then simply waiting for them to change is unlikely to give you the result you want.

 

To change things for the better you have to make the decision to change the one person in your power. That is YOU.

 

Think about the way in which you speak, when you choose to bring things up and how you approach things. Pouncing on your partner as soon as they come in tired and irritable from work is probably not the most productive time to talk about how unreasonable you think they are, at least not if you want them to truly listen to you. Run the conversation in your head and plan to do it differently. As a general rule of thumb make a distinction between how you feel about them and their behaviour. “I love you very much but I find —— really difficult.”   Keep calm and try not to see it as a point scoring exercise.

Making a change to your approach can make a difference over time. Be realistic, if your partnership has been rocky for an extended period of time it can take time for a new strategy to work.

What Will Your Last Words To Your Loved Ones Be?

Bereavement is never easy, but the way we live our day-to-day life can have a big impact on the grief we feel when the day comes.

I share some simple steps, based on my own experiences after a family bereavement that could help you have the right conversation with your loved ones.

 

My Loss, My Lesson

The loss of my brother David made me think about many things at a personal level and also it gave me the opportunity to think about how a sudden bereavement impacts on others. As I thought about it there were a number of lessons that stood out. I started to think about the many clients I work with and how the lessons created through David’s death might be of value to others.

As is with life, the lessons on loss came to me from various sources – notably a documentary about the people affected by the lives lost in the Twin Towers disaster.

In the last few moments, the people who made contact with their loved ones, who knew they were about to die, did something that confirmed my thoughts about love, loss and grief. I was forcibly struck by how powerful the impact of the last words shared between loved ones was on the people left behind. These last words remain forever with the person left behind.

The people receiving phone and text messages from their loved ones in the Twin Towers heard words they will treasure for the rest of their lives. It didn’t take away the agony of loosing their loved one, but without exception the surviving partner, parent, child or friend gained enormous comfort in the days after their loss from those few loving words.

 

My Story

One aspect that made coping with grief easier for my brother’s family is the thought that they had shared a wonderful holiday immediately prior to David’s death. They had in fact returned the night before. They have great memories of quality time together, lots of laughter and loving words to draw upon.

How different would it be if the last words shared had been argumentative or negative?

Dave was great at keeping in touch with friends and family. This has helped enormously. He was really good at telling people he cared about them. He often sent me a quick text saying “Luv Ya” or “Thinking about you” and it always brought a smile to my face and a warm glow to my heart. I know from talking to others that they share similar feelings.

Your Story?

Time spent with loved ones can easily be coloured by sadness, anger, irritation or loss. This short time spent together is also often quite pressured, and negative words are exchanged or resentments are often shared without any words being spoken.

Think about the past week…

What were the last words you said to your partner?

What proportion of your conversation was dealing with day to day living?

How much was spent nagging or complaining?

How much was spent saying something that will have a positive impact on the relationship? When was the last time you told them you loved them and there were no strings attached?

 

The good news is some simple principles can make a huge difference.

Try these:

  • Make sure that no one ever goes to bed or leaves the house on an argument.
  • Tell your partner that you love them – unconditionally
  • Send an appreciative text
  • Leave a note in your loved ones bag, pocket or lunch
  • Make sure your communication is light, undemanding and full of unconditional love – expect nothing in return

Be sure that what ever happens the words you offer give you no cause for regret

If your anxiety or frustration lead to harsh words, negative body language, if you feel unhappy or dissatisfied with life then it is time to take control of your own life and to do something differently, get some help.

Make every day count and live it fully. Treasure the people you care about and tell them often that you value them just for being them.

Dreading Christmas? Part 12

Planning A Successful Christmas: FORGIVING YOURSELF

How many of you hear that voice in your head endlessly telling you off or beating you up for something you have done or something you failed to do?

How many of you give yourselves a much harder time than you would give other people?

How many of you would treat a valued best friend or loved one in the way you treat yourself?

I meet so many clients who have one set of rules for themselves, and a completely different set of rules for others. Usually the rules for themselves are much more fierce. These rules can affect our emotions and general outlook, leading to habitual negative thought-patterns and responses.

By choosing to forgive yourself this Christmas you can help make the holidays a better, more positive experience, for you and those around you.

Learning the lesson is important and that is the purpose of the voice which nags and the sense of guilt. It is a call to action to do things differently in the future. Once you have identified the lesson and taken it on board it is time to let go, to give yourself permission to forgive yourself. In that gift of forgiveness you free up all the energy which has been taken up with perpetuating that horrible feeling. It is then time to move forward, to behave in a way which makes you feel good about yourself.

The measure I use for myself and with clients is to ask, “Would I treat someone I really care about in this way?” Of course it is important to hold people, yourself included to account. Forgiving is not about making light of what has been done. It is all about ensuring that in the future you take on board the lessons learned and choose to do things differently.

If you have done something you regret, then saying you are sorry goes a long way towards healing the problem.

Try This:

If you are no longer in contact with the person you have hurt or that person has died, write a letter expressing your regret and saying sorry. Imagine sending the message by burning the letter and seeing the smoke drift upwards to find the recipient, let it float away down a river or onto the sea. Visualise the letter reaching its intended recipient and send them and you unconditional love.

Give yourself a wonderful gift this holidays. Truly forgive yourself. Look forward to the New Year with an acceptance that hindsight is a wonderful thing, that we all make mistakes and have regrets. This is because we are human. So long as you learn the lesson the experience offers, it is time to forgive yourself, let go, and move on!

Dreading Christmas? Part 11

Planning A Successful Christmas: FORGIVING OTHERS

Forgiveness is an incredible gift to give, and what better time to give a gift than at Christmas time!

Bearing a grudge or holding on to the hurt is like giving yourself the poison and expecting the other person to suffer. No matter how dreadful the experience has been, it is you who suffers the agonies that are created by not dealing with the issues and learning to forgive.

The perpetrator of the abuse, the injustice, the hurt, is at best blithely oblivious to the internal suffering that is going on within you, or at worst, simply doesn’t care. Sadly the outcome is that not only has your past been blighted by the situation but your present is coloured by the baggage you carry. The sad thing is that unless you choose to do something differently your future will be clouded by it too. The emotional chains which bind you to that past situation, keep you imprisoned just as surely as if you were a prisoner in manacles. Forgiveness is the key to the lock that binds those chains to you.

Many people believe that in order to forgive, you have to forget what has happened. They feel that letting go diminishes the significance of the hurt. That belief simply isn’t the case. Forgiving someone requires you to let go of the hold they have over you. It enables you to own and take control of your own power and of the quality of your future.

Of course you won’t forget what happened, nor should you, as it is a part of the life experience that makes you who you are. It is vital that you recognise that if you are reading this blog you are a survivor! You have grown the strength to get through things and are still here to tell the tale.

Benefits of Forgiving Others

By forgiving them, you stop focussing on them and the past. This enables you to begin the healing process. It offers you the opportunity to heal and move on with your life. It isn’t an instant process but little by little, step by step you can learn to own who you are when you become authentically and genuinely you. An amazing, powerful being who has choices!

Dreading Christmas? Part 10

Planning A Successful Christmas: CREATING BOUNDARIES

Many parents have significant expectations of their children, particularly around being with them for Christmas day. As a grown up child, this is easier when single, but as soon as you have a partner there are two sets of parents to satisfy!

 

 

Emotional blackmail, unfavourable comparisons with your siblings, tantrums and sulks are all common approaches from parents and children who want their own way.

At a practical level it is easy to identify a number of potential solutions. Each one of them requires you to set your boundaries out for all concerned in a loving and assertive way.

Achieving a successful outcome with as little drama as possible

To achieve a successful outcome it is important that you handle the situation with thought and care. Setting things out clearly, without getting het up, and as early as possible makes things easier to handle.

If you enjoying being with the whole extended family, if they enjoy being together too, and if you have the room and the budget to invite everyone then a big family Christmas is a nice solution.

Where a big family gathering isn’t your thing, or it simply isn’t possible, negotiating a Christmas pattern can be helpful.

Examples:

  1. Alternate years between you and your partner’s parents. This approach is very common, and most parents can see the logic and fairness in it.
  2. Many people would like to spend Christmas with just their partner or immediate family or off on holiday. It is here that negotiating a three year or even five year cycle can work really well. Year 1 with her parents, Year 2 with his, Year 3 “just us”, and so on.
  3. Creating a Christmas celebration on a different day is also a good alternative.

It isn’t the arrangement that is the important message, but that you take control of your own life and state what you would like to happen. Make sure you do this well in advance so people have time to come to terms with your decisions and make changes to their own plans.

Reassuring those who are disappointed by your absence that you love them, and that you will make the effort to see them around Christmas goes a long way to soften the blow.