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Focus on Priorities (Workshop in CIT with Network Cork)

Last Wednesday Nov 6 2019, I had the pleasure of contributing at “Workshop Wednesday”, a joint initiative between Network Cork and Cork Institute of Technology (C.I.T.). My workshop, entitled “Focus on Priorities” challenged attendees to reflect on their own priorities as well as equipping them with the tools to allocate their time and energy accordingly. I have captured the essence of the talk in the following blog. Enjoy!

There’s a saying:  “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”. Do you feel like you spend your days running from ‘pillar to post’, characterised by meeting other peoples’ agendas and goals? Perhaps you feel hijacked by the school calendar? Do you ever find yourself saying:

  • “If only there were more hours in the day…”
  • “I need to split myself in two to get around to all of that!”
  • “I didn’t have the time to…!”
  • “Can’t you see how busy I am?”

In a world where we are expected to approach our days like an endless iron man competition, our ability to evaluate our activities and behaviours in the context of what we want to achieve, is an important exercise to ensure that we keep ourselves on track. Therefore, having awareness and being intentional about identifying our priorities is critical.

Why Prioritize? Our ability to prioritize, or choosing how we wish to spend our time and energy ensures that we can make the most of our time, our talent and opportunities. However, by NOT choosing (or choosing badly!), we can bog ourselves down in time- depleting, low – yield projects that prevent us from moving forward.

The good news is that time is elastic and it will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it. Here are the tips from Change Grow Succeed to help you evaluate your time ensuring that you are performing and getting results in the areas of your life that you value:

  • Tip #1: Look In

Ask yourself: are you performing in the areas of your life that you value? How would you score out of 10 your satisfaction with your current role, your key relationships, how often you have fun and creative, your social life?  In what areas of your life do you wish to make progress? Be as specific as you can.

  • Tip #2: Audit your time

Analyse your calendar for 3 days and note your appointments, meetings, admin, downtime and other activities and evaluate their importance in the context of what it is you want to achieve. Look at the duration of each task and your energy levels. Ask yourself, what could I do more of or less of to enable me perform or get results? Allocate your time in accordance with what’s important to you.

  • Tip #3: Plan your week

Organise and execute around balanced priorities. Laura Vandercamp a time management specialist and TED talk speaker* encourages us to plan on a Friday afternoon for the week ahead as it tends to be a “low cost opportunity time”, and aim to populate 3 columns: “Work, Relationships, Self” therefore reminding us that there should be something in all 3 columns.

  • Tip #4: Use a Time Management Tool

There are many tools available in the public domain. A favourite of mine because it yields results is called the Priority Matrix. At Change Grow Succeed, we share this tool during our workshops and often through coaching. Leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix, this tool challenges us to think about ‘Impact’ (of the task) and ‘Effort’ (from our behalf) rather than Urgent and Important (which, lets face it, everything is). It uses four quadrents, each with a directive ‘do first’, ‘do next’ etc. We list our activities, score them and subsequently plot them in each quadrant.

  • Tip #5: Learn to say no

Once you have clarity on your priorities, placing boundaries around your own time and energy becomes easier and saying no pleasantly & unapologetically (or even “not now”!) to the things that are less important to you will become second nature. I have previously written on “The Disease to Please”, click here for more details.

In a world where change is constant, our ability to be nimble to meet lifes’ demands is important. At Change Grow Succeed, we are passionate about helping people to perform and succeed in the areas of their life that they value. Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you in living the life you want with the time that you have!

 

Gillian McGrath is Cork based Life and Business Coach, Public Speaker and Facilitator. For more information go to http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

My Freedom from Fear

We are coming to the end of Mental Health awareness week. While any opportunity to place a spotlight on our Mental health is important, I believe that it’s a habit we must cultivate ALL year around. At Change Grow Succeed, we focus on intentional behavioural change as a means to achieve results and in this blog (which I wrote 3 years ago), I share the behaviours and outlooks that I leverage from my own ‘mental health toolkit’ in times of need.

“Fear is born of a story we tell ourselves, so I chose to tell myself a different story. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.” Eckhart Tolle

fear

I was reminded of what fear is at the start of the summer. You know, that knot in your stomach? That sinking feeling often accompanied by pure dread? I discovered that I would need surgery. I found a lump on my neck and was terrified. Following a battery of diagnostic assessments spanning 8 weeks (scans, biopsies, consults etc), it was decided that removal of half of my thyroid was unavoidable. I was terrified, not so much by the surgery but by what they might “find”. I knew I was handing myself over to the medical professionals fit and well and equally that I was signing up to enforced time out for an indefinite period of time, rendering me vulnerable and dare I say, ‘in need’. I am an active working mother of 3 children. I should also add that I also had major surgery less than 3 years ago which was challenging to recover from. I could feel panic setting in.

Ekhart Tolle, who wrote The Power of Now (and whom I cited in the opening quote) tells us that fear stems from our mind creating an anxiety gap around something that MIGHT happen, as distinct from something that is happening right now. Fear feeds off our mind living in the future!  He argues that we can cope in the present moment but that it’s difficult to cope with something that is a mere mind projection!

Thankfully, my ‘inner coach’ knew that I was not about to spend the whole summer mentally torturing myself about what might happen. I couldn’t change my situation so I actively decided to focus on what I could do to support myself and a healthy mindset! I decided to challenge myself by seeking pleasure in and participating in the Now! Before I share what worked for me, I must add that there were blips and melt downs along the way- but being able to get myself back on track was the real win.

  • Distraction– Yes! A little project directed my focus from the surgery. I decided on changing our bedroom and invested lots of time scouring through websites for ideas and inspiration.
  • Connect with people that ground me – I consider myself lucky to have some wonderful people in my life. I was so grateful for time with my children, for the evening walks with friends and the chats over coffee
  • Create comfort in my home e.g. consciously lighting a candle or popping flowers in a vase
  • Indulge in my favourite things e.g. using my favourite tea cup or spending time at the sea
  • Perspective & Gratitude – there are a lot of people who endure far worse with less. Zoning in on what I am grateful for was and is hugely transformative. And lastly,
  • Have faith & Decide to be ok!

The operation went to plan and thankfully I’m on the right side of recovery and enjoying the new perspective my enforced time out has provided me with! Finally, I love this quote by Robert Tew and wanted to share it with you:

 “Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot and you’ll survive whatever is coming”

If you’re struggling with something, I truly hope you feel better soon.

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork Based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, contact her directly at Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

6 Questions to Pursue Your Purpose this Autumn!

6 Questions to Pursue Your Purpose this Autumn!

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What is it about Autumn that invites us to consider change?

Autumn is a season of transition; the temperature changes and there is a decrease in daylight. Autumn can also be a season of rebirth and renewal, a time to adopt a fresh outlook on your life.

To invite ‘purpose’ into our lives that has meaning and is authentic, it’s necessary to evaluate and understand the ‘here and now’. Great results start with great questions and often the most challenging questions are the ones we ask of ourselves. At Change Grow Succeed we have devised 6 Killer Coaching questions to provoke your thoughts and help you evaluate your purpose this Autumn.

Question 1: Review the year so far, what’s going well for you? What’s not working?

Take stock. Autumn is traditionally associated with harvest so take the time to evaluate and appreciate your achievements in 2019, noting any seeds that have come to fruition. Taking stock is a necessary process to ensure your behaviours and actions are aligned with the goals you have set. Remember, the first stage of any change is to face where we are right now, as we cannot change what we don’t acknowledge.

Question 2: If you saw yourself in 3 years time living the same life, how would that feel?

If this image is not a positive one for you- what needs to change? What do you need to start doing or crucially, what do you need to stop doing? This question helps us to create a vision for what we want for ourselves in the future. Certainly, it assists us in evaluating if we are moving in the right direction.

Question 3: What are you like when you’re at your best? What are you doing?

How often do you engage with the activities that you love doing?  How could you do them more often? I often task clients in transition to “reflect on the last time they had fire in their belly” and invite them to note what they were doing. This process prompts clients to bring conscious awareness into their day to day activities for example; at work- emphasis your strengths- don’t fix weaknesses. It’s far more lucrative and fun to leverage better use of your weapons instead of being in constant repair. Why? We are more productive and yield higher results.

Question 4: What gives your life meaning?

This may sound like an obvious question but bringing conscious awareness to what puts meaning into our life is crucial in determining  our priorities. We are products of a very dynamic environment and it’s important to appreciate that what we needed from life 2, 5, or 10 years ago may have been significantly different to now. For example the arrival of children, a bereavement, or general life experience can all alter our view of the world. Taking time to understand this helps us to gauge whether we are on the right path or not.

Question 5: If you could be a role model to yourself, what would you do?

The whole notion of a role- model gets us thinking about who and what inspires us and crucially, why they inspire us. Being a role- model to ourselves challenges us to evaluate our behaviours and intentionally make some changes. Perhaps we want to change how we respond under stress, it can be helpful to examine our triggers and our patterns of responses. With greater awareness comes choice points and where the mind goes, energy will flow.

Question 6: What’s the best thing that could happen to you next year?

This final question invites us to think about 2020 and introducing visualisation, encourages us to think about something that we want to achieve or complete. Napoleon Hill said that “A goal is a dream with a deadline” so, visualise where you plan to be this time next year. Imagine that it has been a fantastic year for you both personally and professionally. Now, make a note of what you accomplished (visualising 2020) and explore how you might achieve this.

At Change Grow Succeed, these are the 6 killer coaching questions we have identified to help re-wire your thinking and tap into your purpose this Autumn. No longer distracted by the summers’ long evenings we can actually commit to a chosen path and anchor it. Good Luck!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach, Public Speaker and Facillitator. For more information, go to www.changegrowsucceed.com

5 Tips to Stay In a Job You Don’t Love

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Delighted that this latest blog was featured on the Employmum website this month.

 

*Warning- If you are currently working in a role in which you are fulfilled, challenged and stimulated (in equal measure), then this blog is NOT for you.

On the other hand, if you’re one of the thousands of people who are yearning for something more meaningful, then do read on. Perhaps your job is….’fine’, it may not put fire in your belly but it does pay the bills. Perhaps you’ve convinced yourself that you’re one of the lucky ones by acknowledging the following:

  • Your job is ‘easy’ or
  • The office is ‘down the road’ or
  • You can work from home one day per week or
  • The team finishes early on a Friday or
  • Your supervisor is ‘sound’ (even let you take an extra few days last year so you could care for your elderly aunt or young child)

Yet, you find yourself yearning for a greater sense of fulfillment. Jumping ship is an option but not in the short term, so, what can you do to put yourself back in the driving seat of your working day? It can be tricky to think straight if you are spending 39 hours a week in a job you no longer love but at Change Grow Succeed, we believe that taking ownership of the following will leave you feeling empowered:

  1. Forge Meaning

Meaning does not ‘happen’ to us us- we CREATE it. Our best moments happen when we are truly connecting – with activities, with people and of course, with ourselves. Approaching this more practically, get clear on why your job matters to you. Perhaps you enjoy the team environment, or helping your customers solve their problems. Maybe the money is good. Supporting your family or financing your holidays are worthy goals in themselves. Whatever the reason, OWN IT and you’ll find your day to day more meaningful.

 

  1. Define Progress

Happiness at work depends on experiencing ‘small wins’. Goal setting is most effective when there are milestones/ feedback in place to showcase any progress. They matter more than long term milestones which are usually too far off to make a difference. Begin each day by clarifying the two or three achievable tasks that would make the most difference or impact and when they are done make sure you savour the moment with a break or reward.

 

  1. Establish Momentum

Following on from the last point, take time to label your priorities and choose actions and habits that take you in the direction of what it is you want to achieve and of course, do these first thing! In our previous blog on establishing priorities, we share our preferred time management tool to ensure momentum in our day to day. You can check this out  here

Know that procrastination is a choice. As Alan Cohen said “Don’t wait until the conditions are perfect to begin, beginning makes the conditions perfect”. Remember to keep the meaning or reason behind your activity/ behaviour intact and the motivation will follow.

 

  1. Channel your Future-Self

There is a body of research to suggest that by connecting with our future selves that we can make more meaningful behavioural changes in the present. How can we do this? Think about your future self, say in ten years’ time and get to know them. Create a relationship by asking questions about what’s important in ‘their’ life, and what ‘their’ priorities are. This allows us to gain perspective. It also creates insight on ‘how is what I am doing now serving this purpose?’ or crucially ‘What skills will my future- self have taken from this current role?’ Get curious about your future self and start asking those questions!

 

  1. Partner with a coach

As we are products of a very dynamic environment, it’s important to appreciate that what we needed from a job 5 or 10 years ago may have significantly changed to now. For example the arrival of children, a bereavement, or general life experience can all alter our view of the world. Taking time to understand this helps us to gauge whether we are on the right path or not. A coach will support you by helping you identify your present passions, priorities and interests enabling you to find clarity and take values- based action.  At Change Grow Succeed, we leverage and blend a myriad of coaching tools in addition to skills profiles (psychometric assessments) and interest audits to support our clients. Feedback from our clients suggests that the accountability of the process drives momentum and change. Clients report feeling empowered energised and back behind the steering wheel.

 

So even if you’re current role no longer puts ‘fire in your belly’, take the opportunity to change your narrative about it by applying the pointers above. You might just be pleasantly surprised at how empowered you feel! Make a change. Grow. Succeed.

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Leadership Coach and Facilitator. She is also founder of Change Grow Succeed. For more information, see www.changegrowsucceed.com

#Empower #LookIn #Connect #SmallChanges #5Tips

How we think about Time…Matters!!

Posted on

There’s a saying:  “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”. Do you feel like you spend your days running from ‘pillar to post’, characterised by meeting other peoples’ agendas and goals? Perhaps you feel hijacked by the school calendar? Do you ever find yourself saying:

  • “If only there were more hours in the day…”
  • “I need to split myself in two to get around to all of that!”
  • “I didn’t have the time to…!”
  • “Can’t you see how busy I am?”

In a world where we are expected to approach our days like an endless iron man competition, our ability to evaluate our activities and behaviors in the context of what we want to achieve, is an important exercise to ensure that we keep ourselves on track. Therefore, having awareness and being intentional about identifying our priorities is critical.

Why Prioritize? Our ability to prioritize, or choosing how we wish to spend our time and energy ensures that we can make the most of our time, our talent and opportunities. However, by NOT choosing (or choosing badly!), we can bog ourselves down in time- depleting, low – yield projects that prevent us from moving forward.

The good news is that time is elastic and it will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it. Here are the tips from Change Grow Succeed to help you evaluate your time ensuring that you are performing and getting results in the areas of your life that you value:

  • Tip #1: Look In

Ask yourself: are you performing in the areas of your life that you value? Out of 10, how would you score your satisfaction with your current role, your key relationships, how often you have fun and creative, your social life?  In what areas of your life do you wish to make progress? Be as specific as you can.

  • Tip #2: Audit your time

Analyse your calendar for 3 days and note your appointments, meetings, admin, downtime and other activities and evaluate their importance in the context of what it is you want to achieve. Look at the duration of each task and your energy levels. Ask yourself, what could I do more of or less of to enable me perform or get results? Allocate your time in accordance with what’s important to you.

  • Tip #3: Plan your week

Organise and execute around balanced priorities. Laura Vandercamp a time management specialist and TED talk speaker encourages us to plan on a Friday afternoon for the week ahead as it tends to be a “low cost opportunity time”, and aim to populate 3 columns: “Work, Relationships, Self” therefore reminding us that there should be something in all 3 columns.

  • Tip #4: Use a Time Management Tool

There are many tools available in the public domain. A favourite of mine because it yields results is called the Priority Matrix. At Change Grow Succeed, we share this tool during our workshops and often through coaching. Leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix, this tool challenges us to think about ‘Impact’ (of the task) and ‘Effort’ (from our behalf) rather than Urgent and Important (which, lets face it, everything is). It uses four quadrents, each with a directive ‘do first’, ‘do next’ etc. We list our activities, score them and subsequently plot them in each quadrant.

  • Tip #5: Learn to say no

Once you have clarity on your priorities, placing boundaries around your own time and energy becomes easier and saying “no” pleasantly & unapologetically (or even “not now”!) to the things that are less important to you will become second nature. I have previously written on “The Disease to Please”, click here for more details.

 

In a world where change is constant, our ability to be nimble to meet lifes’ demands is important. At Change Grow Succeed, we are passionate about helping people to perform and succeed in the areas of their life that they value. Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you in living the life you want with the time that you have! Remember:

the bad news is..

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork Based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer and founder of Change Grow Succeed. For more information, go to http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

 

Are you an Imposter?

imposter3

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it”

                                                                                                                 JM Barrie, PETER PAN

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Ever think it’s just a matter of time before you’re ‘found out’? Ever feel that your success in work has been based on ‘being in the right place at the right time’ rather than on your merit? If so, you may be a sufferer of Imposter Syndrome.

I was prompted to explore ‘Imposter Syndrome’ late last year following several (female) clients who were all well accomplished in their careers but who were distressed and anxious about “not feeling good enough”.…They felt like frauds.

Through research, I learned that the term “Imposter Syndrome” is largely a female phenomenon.  It’s a term used to describe women who experience ’imposter feelings’ and worry incessantly that they will “found out . Often, despite evidence of an abundance of workplace skills and achievements, sufferers live in fear that their peers and superiors will realize that they’re not “as good” as they had initially thought.

At this point, you would be correct to think “we all experience feelings of self- doubt or low confidence from time to time” but to help qualify this issue, it’s important to examine frequency and impact.  For example, if you are living under a constant veil of worry and self-doubt, the impact for some women is anxiety, stress, low self-confidence and even depression. Lack of confidence becomes self- sabotaging and FEAR steps in. Sufferers are afraid to explore new experiences. These talented ladies are pressing the ‘PAUSE’ button.

So how can we banish these thoughts?

Quite simply, if you want to stop feeling like an imposter, you have to stop thinking like an imposter. As Imposter sufferers tend to live in their heads, the challenge is to foster different thinking habits! Here are my tips for taking some control back over those thoughts!

  • Label those thoughts as they trickle in. Acknowledge them and create a distance. Detach yourself.

 

  • Understand the root cause: Eg. In a presentation, you might think a colleague looks so confident and get swept away with thoughts such as “I could never do that! I wish I could be like her!” When you have no idea what’s going on for that individual. It’s therefore possible that you’re making unfair comparisons i.e. you’re comparing your inside with their outside!

 

  • Reframe. Substitute “Oh My God, I have NO idea what I’m doing here” with “this is going to be a great opportunity for me to learn something new- I’ve got this” or replace “I’d say they are sending me on this business trip to test me ” with “I’m looking forward to bringing something different to the table!”

 

  • Focus on the external value or service you are contributing instead of your internal thoughts! Think about yourself less!

 

  • Journal. Identify your accomplishments to date, skills, qualifications, projects etc. Label what you’re grateful for. Over time, this will become a habit a foster a more positive and confident mindset.

 

  • The scariest strategy at all- envisage the worst case scenario! Make a mistake. Get feedback that you were incorrect! Remember being wrong doesn’t make you a ‘fraud’. It makes you human.

 

In summary, none of us chose to feel like an imposter. We all want to feel confident but unless we actively tackle our thoughts on this, progress will be limited. Know there will be good and bad days ahead but as long as you remain focused and disciplined on the thoughts you wish to change, getting yourself back on track will be easier. Over time, this will become your new way of being! Make a change. Grow. Succeed.

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, contact her directly at Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

Empowering Women

Cork Chamber Skillnet-Masthead-800px cropped-wp-header2.jpg

Change Grow Succeed are delighted to partner with the Cork Chamber Skillnet to facilitate an “Empowering Women” series of workshops. This unique series will focus on themes such as Personal Leadership, Thought Leadership and Results Leadership.

In addition to establishing a strong peer support network, attendees can expect an insightful and impactful experience that is both pragmatic and empowering. Attendees will also benefit from an introduction to leading edge experts on leadership. Finally, those in attendance can choose to avail of 1:1 coaching to boost their transfer of learning.

Full details can be found here.

About Gillian McGrath

Gillian is an experienced Coach and Facilitator. With 18 years’ experience in Training, Coaching and People Development across the private and public sectors and with qualifications in psychology, training and development, coaching and psychometric assessment, Gillian founded Change Grow Succeed in 2015.

Passionate about supporting her clients in effecting positive change, Gillian offers a strengths based approach – an experience that leaves clients feeling empowered, energised and looking forward. Her facilitation & coaching style is personable, authentic & hugely impactful. She also delivers bespoke high impact programmes to individuals, teams & managers and is skilled at creating environments which enable people to learn.