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5 Tips to Survive this ‘State of Stuck’

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These are unprecedented and uncertain times; the COVID- 19 global pandemic has us bombarded daily with Armageddon type updates and seen our children and pets become our co – workers. Our power and freedom  to steer our day by  getting out and about and making plans has been removed  and we are advised to stay indoors or at best, practise ‘social distancing’. For many of us, we feel as though we are living in a state of stuck.

How do we survive this state of stuck? As 40% of our well-being can be attributed to intentional activity, there is a both an opportunity and responsibility on us to focus on how we can survive and thrive in these uncertain times. Here are our tips at Change Grow Succeed to help you achieve just that:

  1. Deal in FACTS and not FEAR

They say that the anxiety surrounding the virus can be as bad as the virus itself. Ekhart Tolle, who wrote “The Power of Now” tells us that fears are stories we tell ourselves. It stems from our mind creating an anxiety gap around something that MIGHT happen, as distinct from something that is happening right now. In effect, fear feeds off our mind living in the future.  With this in mind, stick to trusted news and media sources and aim to limit this to once or twice daily. Aim to reduce your social media/ phone scrolling activities to minimise your exposure. Our minds can cope with the present moment, mind projections cause anxiety and this certainly doesn’t serve us at this time.

  1. Schedule your time

Our routines have gone out the window and working from home (WFH) has become the new ‘norm’. For a lot of people, WFH may have been a ‘nice to have’, whereas now, it’s imperative and requires a whole new mind set (and patience as you navigate your new working rhythm). Having a designated office ‘space’ is imperative and not blurring the lines between work and home life are critical in setting you up for success (i.e. if your designated space is the kitchen table, ensure to put everything away when you’re finished!) Research also suggests that our output is greater when we work in 45- 50 minute sprints taking a bio break in between. This is something that I have certainly found to be true.

In my view, another critical factor is to schedule your down time. For me that includes activities such as reading, walking and listening to music. We don’t usually give ourselves ‘permission’ during the day, but let’s be intentional about nourishing ourselves at the moment.

  1. Connect with Your People

In an era of imposed ‘social distancing’ and ‘isolation’ it has never been as important to reach out and connect with our tribe. What’s a tribe? A modern take on the term ‘tribe’ is accessing and connecting with those people in your life who nurture you, who make you laugh, who inspire you and who accept you, warts and all! It provides us with a sense of belonging which is critical to basic human functioning.

We are all driving in our own lanes, this is the time to come out of these lanes and connect with each other as we used to; aim to call instead of texting your friends. Face time, Skype and Microsoft teams are platforms that I have found helpful for face to face connections and of course Zoom or Google Hangouts are great for multi- party connections!

  1. Give Back

Connection is ingrained in us but it also works the other way; studies have shown that volunteering makes people feel physically healthier and reduces stress. As human beings, we have the innate need to contribute to those around us. Whether it’s something small like being there for a friend or something bigger, giving back to society, it makes us feel alive. Never has there been more an important time to align and give back than now. There are many options available to us regardless of our age or ability. Initiatives to support front line workers, checking in on the elderly or vulnerable in our communities as well as checking in on friends all has a big impact. What can you do to give back today?

  1. Find Joy

Many of us are over- loading on thinking with negativity flooding our brains from the outside world. To counter that, I’m suggesting ‘Finding joy’ in simpler moments; be intentional about enjoying a walk or a book. Pause to a play board game with the children or volunteer your time or effort to a cause in need. Remember all those things you have on your to- do list that you never have time for? Or what about those other projects you wanted to research but never had the time? Now is your opportunity to catch up on your reading, your research or pause to spend time thinking about yourself, your vision, your goals. Practise gratitude to help you re- boot and re- focus if you’re feeling frazzled or stressed.

 

We may be forced to think outside the box or re-invent old ways in these uncertain times but the sense of community and ‘togetherness’ is palpable. Be mindful of where are how you are spending your energy. Find the joy in your day. Know your purpose and Have Hope! It will help to cultivate a more balanced outlook and reminds us that all will (once again) be well in our world.

 

Gillian MCGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach, Master Trainer and Public  Speaker. For more information, you can contact her on http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

Book Review: “Emotional Agility – Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and thrive in Work and Life”

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In her fantastic and relevant book ‘Emotional Agility -Get unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life” Dr. Susan David reminds us of the importance of pausing to connect with ourselves.

We are on this planet for a short time and study after study shows that having a strong sense of what matter to us leads to greater happiness. By knowing who you are and what you stand for, you come to lifes’ choices with the most powerful tool of all; our full selves.

When we connect with our real selves and what we believe to be important, the gulf between how we feel and how we behave closes up.

Enter Emotional Agility. This is a process that allows us to be in the moment, changing or maintaining our behaviours that are aligned with our intentions and values. The goal of Emotional Agility is to keep our sense of growth and challenge alive and is built around a 4 step process. These are:

  • Step 1: Showing Up: Becoming curious about our thoughts and emotions and facing them with kindness. Asking ourselves who’s in charge the thinker or the thought?
  • Step 2: Stepping out: Detaching ourselves from our emotion. As coaches we are skilled at supporting our clients in intentionally creating a space between stimulus and response as therein lies our power of choice. Paying attention to what we are thinking or how we are feeling is paramount in helping us to create that space e.g. I’m noticing that I’m feeling …
  • Step 3: Walking Your Why: In a world where we are expected to approach our day to day tasks like an endless ironman competition, it’s necessary to take the time to evaluate what truly matters to us, otherwise we leave ourselves victim to circumstance. Identifying and acting on the values that are your own is crucial to E.A.
  • Step 4: Moving On: The ability to make small but intentional changes in our motivation, our mindset and our behaviours that are aligned with our values can make for transformational change in how we navigate our world.

Our ability to be nimble to meet lifes’ every changing demands is important, however, if we are not taking time to intentionally connect with our priorities or even observe our own narrative, we leave ourselves victims of circumstance or more tragically, randomness!

I absolutely loved this book, being emotionally agile in our lives empowers us to be adaptable, to face our emotions with courage, curiosity and compassion and move on from them!

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

Empowering Women

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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.

 

My freedom from fear

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“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

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 young 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– A little project directed my focus from the surgery. I decided on changing our bedroom and invested 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 finally,
  • 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! Lastly, 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