Posted in Health and Wellness, Inspiration, Leadership, Life Purpose, Living from the soul, Mags Magazine - Soulful Encounters, Motivation, Overcoming fear, People who inspire others, Uncategorized, Women, Work

Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.

Last week I posted on my new program, ‘Coaching through Transitions’, which I implement mainly on the evenings or weekends. It has been such a pleasure working with two young women who are already making progress after a couple of weeks. Last night, when I walked in, the Director of the organization said: “I don’t know what you are doing with these two ladies but everyone on the staff wants to be part of the training. Tell me what I need to do to get training for everyone!”

This made me feel so happy – to know that I am making a difference in the lives of other women and helping them to develop new skills, gain new knowledge and insights, and to have the confidence to say: “Now I know what to do when I am facing this type of situation!” At the class, they bubbly shared how they are already putting their new tools and knowledge into practice.  The excitement in their voices is enough reward.

How do you get from one point to the next? How do you get a job promotion? How do you position yourself strategically for an opportunity? How do you maintain a positive attitude when things are falling apart?  How do you build confidence?  How do you develop a powerful network of people who can support you?  How do you work with others to create a happy environment?  How do you handle social media?

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It is amazing what a few hours with some blank paper, an open mind and a guided discussion can do for your soul.

Some of us are lucky and have been blessed with almost perfect lives and great opportunities.  However, the majority of people who I meet are struggling with one issue or another. Over the last two decades, my work with adults have proved several small but important things:

  • Sometimes, we simply do not know what to do to take the next step.
  • Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know.
  • Sometimes, we don’t realize that our attitude about life is keeping us back.
  • Sometimes, we don’t realize that we are simply in the wrong job.
  • Sometimes, we don’t realize that we are holding on to some pain which has drowned our joy and happiness for life.
  • Sometimes, we are afraid of our success.
  • Sometimes, we are afraid to fail and would prefer to remain motionless.
  • Sometimes, we don’t know how to ask for what we want.
  • Sometimes, we don’t realize that we need to breakthrough some very small habits in order to create major breakthroughs.
  • Sometime, we don’t know someone who can help us.
  • Sometimes, we believe that there is nothing more or nothing better than where we are stuck.

What if I told you that all of the barriers above can be turned into opportunities?

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  • Sometimes, we have to work at developing skills, knowledge and even learn new attitudes to help us break through our transitions.
  •  Sometimes, we have to learn courage by taking small risks to step out of our comfort zone.
  • Sometimes, we need to feel inspired by a vision which is more powerful than our fears.
  • Sometimes, we need someone to work with us and help us to navigate through the processes which we are afraid to tackle on our own.

If you feel that you are struggling more than you should in living a fulfilled life ,or feeling less satisfied with your job or not getting through the goals which you set for yourself, you could be in need of someone to coach you. Sometimes, breaking through may require a change in perspective, some new tools to give help you get organized, some new content to help you have a greater understanding of the subject matter. That is what coaching is all about.

Today, life is moving faster than ever. This calls for major shifts in managing both our work and personal life as well as managing our thought patterns.

I am grateful for the amazing people in my life. I am grateful for the opportunities of living my passion and knowing THAT feeling of living purposefully and of sharing my gifts with others.

I am still work in progress… such a lot of learning to do and the world is such a beautiful training school.

Love,

Magdalene

Mags

 

Posted in Motivation, Relationships, Work

Could “softeners” save your relationships, improve communication on the job or even promote you to a better job?

 

 

Communication

“Just do whatever you want to do / think whatever you want to think – I am out of here.”   These were my hurtful words to someone after a long, heated argument and I stopped listening to the complete story.  This left us both drained, frustrated and lost for words to repair the damage we had done to each other’s feelings.

The conversation was something like this:

Him: “I think we should use a device to make our presentation more visible to the head table. Maybe if we tried xxxx it would work.”

Me“NO – that is not going to work. One device would not be sufficient.  We do not have the time or resources to do this now.” (My response did not leave any space for a conversation – the word “NO” was definitive and stern.)

Him:  “I have thought about this for a long time.  I think if I tried it, it would work.”  He was still trying to get me on his side. He continued sharing his ideas but I stopped listening, because in my mind, I was clear that whatever this idea was, was not going to work.

Me:  “Just do whatever you want to do / think whatever you want to think – I am out of here.”

This last statement rocked the boat completely. As I read through this conversation, I am speechless with my tone of voice and behavior.  The conversation was happening within a pressured environment with very little time to implement new changes to a planned event.  Generally, I consider myself to be a good communicator, but under pressure, I can be quite flippant. So I did a bit of research on communication techniques and discovered a simple concept called “softeners” which I could have used to communicate my point more effectively and less hurtful.

“Softeners” means a specific language that softens a discussion and has been identified as a skill worth learning by new Canadians since most Canadians use softeners in their communication with others. Softeners ensure that the process of talking about something does not start with a strong categorical, definitive, unqualified position, even when speaker have strong feelings or strong opinions or feelings about an issue.  They use softeners to send less confrontational and dogmatic messages.

Some examples of words and phrases you can use to soften a conversation are:

“Often” “Could” “Perhaps” “Probably” “Maybe”

“From my experience”; “I observed”; “Can we look at another option?”

“I hear that you are saying….”

“I am just wondering…”

“What do you think about?”

“Can you elaborate more on your idea?”

“Did you change your mind about your previous decision?”

Instead of saying: “NO – that is not going to work. One device would not be sufficient.  We do not have the time or resources to do this now.”

I could have said: “Tell me more about what you have in mind.  Do you think we have enough time to implement your idea? How do you think it will affect the timing for the event?  What additional resources do you think we need? Or can you please elaborate on your idea?”

Good communication is an art and requires tact and discipline.  Several research sources have proven that companies lose millions of dollars each year due to communication problems.  It takes a considerable amount of knowledge and practice to get our messages across clearly, concisely, coherently and within the right context!  In addition to the message we must also pay attention to timing as well as the other person’s mind frame and their space during a conversation.

TuneIn to why you may react negatively to how a person speaks to you.  Does it sound too harsh?  Maybe they are not aware of softeners. Let us StepUp and use softeners in our daily communication. It could save your job, your relationships and even promote you to positions which require good tact and communication.

If you liked this article, please share.  You can also  follow my blog  and like our FB page.

Love,

Magdalene

 

Posted in Motivation, Overcoming fear, Work

Are you being treated as a door mat?

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“I feel overworked most of the time. I need to find a strategy to make my supervisor realize that I am not a doormat.” Sheila said quietly.

By that she meant the everything was being dumped on her – she had become a welcome place for all types of problems. She did not know how to say NO and could never prioritize. She felt undervalued and “taken advantage of”. She could feel the mental and emotional toll it had taken on her over the last year.

In my 20+ years of managing programs/people plus what research shows, this type of feeling from a staff manifest itself in various forms which can create hostile work environments. It is manifested in passive-agressive behaviours, low performance, constant “unspoken” battles, resentment, gossip, and lots of frustration. I have allowed others to treat me as a door mat and I learnt how to be more self-assertive. I coach people to discuss it instead of avoiding it because the problem is not just about you being treated like a door mat in the work environment. You are probably being treated as a door mat in your other relationships as well and most of it stems from a need to please others and to be liked. You can’t change your manager or team but you can take ownership for the situation and approach it sensitively.

Note that there is a difference between working hard and being treated as a door mat. Hard work which is aligned with your belief system fuels you to excel even greater!

Here is one approach that you can use if you feel overworked and feel treated as a door mat.

Try this:

Have a conversation with your manager about setting a list of priorities for a week/month/year. Be calm, smile through the conversation and go prepared with a list of items that are already on your plate. At the end of your discussion, type it up, share it with your manager and put it where you can see it to keep you focused.

Try this script: (Use the word “I” and NOT “YOU”)

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“I feel  bit overworked over the last few months and my objective is to reduce my stress level so I can work more efficiently. I would like to work with you to help me identify our priorities over the next little while, so that I can be more effective with how I use my time and support you in meeting our team goals.”

By using this strategy, you are taking ownership. You demonstrate professionalism and can measure your progress based on your priorities. If new tasks pop up, you can negotiate what to give priority to, seek support from your manager in re-assigning some of your tasks and be in charge of your workload. You will gain respect and feel that you are taking control of the situation and not the situation controlling you. You can also take some other courses in self-assertiveness or try a sports program like kick boxing that help you bring out the assertive side of you.

TuneIn to what you have control over and have the courage to Stepup to create a good work/life balance. The first time you do this will be hard but eventually, you will master it and it will become second nature to you.

Love,
Magdalene