Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's take charge!

‘It’s not bad parenting that’s the problem,'  says Dr Gabor Mate,  'it’s stressed parents.’
Dr Mate claims this and many other very helpful findings, in several interviews and in his 3 best-selling books. And he’s not alone. Countless research studies have – over more than half a century – shown the connection between stress and disease, stress and dysfunctional behaviour, stress and lack of productivity, and now parental stress and ADHD in children. When are we going to start paying attention? Start applying some of all these great findings?  Findings that, when applied, empower us and actually give us back control of our lives....................Maybe this coming New Year? (I wonder, ever hopeful.)
Watch Dr Gabor. He may inspire another kind of New Year’s resolution!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wishing You a StressLess Holiday

Rounding up this little series of postings with tips for our somewhat unsettling times, - and just in time for the holidays - some tips for the management of stress ….
Again, equally useful for any age, person, group or situation you might be 'managing'!!!!
Self-awareness – are you communicating, behaving, thinking, feeling the way you want your family or staff to communicate, behave, think & feel? Do a ‘self-check’ at least 3 times a day.
Coach self-awareness in others - your staff and family. Integrate non-confrontational language that draws people’s attention to themselves. Ie: when you ask someone how they are, stop and listen to the answer. Share a personal anecdote about your own self-awareness such as ‘I was so stressed this morning I didn’t even say hi properly. I do apologize. I should have noticed my shoulders were up under my ears! Do you ever have that happen?’
Practice self-management – stop every so often and stand up, take a deep breath and extend the exhale for as long as you can.  Check your neck, jaw & shoulders for tension. Shake it off1 Take another breath and sit down. This need only take 20 seconds! Another 20-second tool was suggested to me by my eye doctor: 20-20-20: every 20 minutes take your eyes away from your work and look out at least 20 feet away (at a tree outside for example), for 20 seconds. Then back to work  Either of these 20-second tools will renew your energy, your focus and your creativity.
Practice compassion, for others (no matter what the age), and yourself – self explanatory (I hope!) - For those of you familiar with Maslow’s Pyramid, having one up on the wall can be a helpful reminder.-
Get support for yourself – this can be in the form of coaching, counseling, peer group get-togethers, and self-care strategies such as regular massages, a meditation group, yoga class, or journaling about your day just before bed.

I do love feedback, so as you try these suggestions out, let me know how you fare!
Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend, and a New Year filled with love, joy, and other pleasant emotions!

Monday, December 13, 2010


As promised, further suggestions around motivation that I have found work really well - this time specifically around managing change - and we seem to be seeing a lot of that lately! Anyone who is uncomfortable with change or uncertainty is being challenged right now, so if that's you or anyone in your life - hopefully these ideas will help.
Parents & teachers will find them easy to adapt to kids & families!

Define goals
– Are your goals clearly enough defined? They may be in your head, but are they to your people or family? (Agenda Free Listening can help you discover this :-)
2 Levels of planning – are you only using your head (in a semi-adrenaline induced state) to problem solve? When you’ve finished ‘brain-storming’ for ideas, engage or recall a positive emotion, breathe & get centered. Then try again; use the Spider-Map (or mind-mapping) technique, to help access your right brain capacities.
Habituate the positive – Take time to reflect on - write it down - what works and what doesn’t, then make a habit of doing what works!
Use a Decision Making Process – All 4 steps (in the following process) are equally necessary:
A) Identify where you want to be
B) Identify where you are
C) Create a practical plan for how you’ll get from A to B
D) Do it!
Communicate – with peers and employees, (or family members) about any or all that you've arrived at from the above points EVERY DAY.

Next posting – some tips on effective stress management, my favorite subject!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Motivating Others

Last posting - having dissed carrots & sticks - I promised to share some alternative suggestions for motivating others. Here are some suggestions that I’ve found work really well, especially during times of stress, (and there seems to be no shortage of that nowadays!)
These ideas are just as readily applied to managing kids!

Self-Management – Ensure you yourself are internally managed enough that you can put your own agenda or views aside and ‘tune in’ to others’ stress.
Find the feeling – How bad is the stress or lack of motivation? Are people scared, frustrated, resentful, apathetic? Their behavior and motivation will be different for each of these different emotions. Try to check in whether your perception is correct, then tailor your response accordingly.
AFL – (Agenda Free Listening). Those of you who are familiar with this technique, practice, practice, practice! This is powerful stuff! (If you’re not familiar with it, feel free to contact me and I’ll send you more information.)
Appreciate effort, sincerely! – Voice appreciation for all effort, no matter how successful (or not) the result of that effort. Make sure you really mean it, though. (Appreciation that isn't authentic can feel condescending and create mistrust.)
Facilitate the feeling –Focus on creating a positive, feel-good environment to help everyone get into an internal state where their brains are switched on and they can function creatively.
Empowerment – Allow space & time for problem-solving – give people/kids time and the autonomy to come up with creative solutions that your business or family can implement. Believe me, autonomy can work wonders - at any age!

Let me know how these work for you........
Next posting I think I’ll share some ideas for Change Management……