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Category Archives: Top tips

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

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!!

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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

 

The 6 questions you need to answer before making any changes 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, there’s a decrease in daylight and nature replaces the abundant flowers with fruit. Autumn can also be a season of rebirth and renewal. It can be a time to adopt a fresh outlook on your life – no longer distracted by the summers’ long evenings you can actually commit to a chosen path and anchor it.

For change to occur 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 to help kick start a newer and better version of yourself this Autumn.

Question 1: Evaluate 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 appreciate how far you’ve come during 2018 and note the seeds that have come to fruition. Taking stock is a necessary process to ensure your behaviours and activities 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 what your good at instead of attempting to fix chunks in your armour. Focus on the better use of your weapons instead of constant repair. Why? You will multiply 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 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.

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 the power of choice. Where the mind goes, energy flows.

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

This final question invites us to think about 2019 and introducing visualisation, encourages us to think about something that we want to achieve, do 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 (in 2019) and explore how you might achieve this.

At Change Grow Succeed, these are the 6 killer coaching questions we have identified to re-wire your thinking and get you focused on achieving results. Good Luck!

 

 

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

From Frazzled to Free

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There’s no doubt the summer break is perceived as a time to re-boot and recharge but what to do if you’re exhausted and are facing into the last quarter of the year completely frazzled and drained? Having the mental ability to manage the existing pace, overcome challenges, create a vision and achieve results requires mental energy- is there something we could be doing more of to cultivate this?

Here are my tips to eliminate  the ‘frazzle’ and free yourself to reap the fruits of the months ahead:

  • Go Back to Basics

Self- care is not selfish, it’s necessary to sustain us both mentally and physically. Be mindful of the change in season ahead characterized by a change in routines and pace. Sleep has transformative power. It renews us.  Healthy eating and regular exercise are also essential. Our needs are individual and no ‘one- size fits all’ but do take a personal pit-stop and evaluate if you are getting what you need.

  • Beware the Smart phone

Steven Johnson (popular science author) in his TED talk asks us to think about what the internet is doing to our brains. The constant engagement of social media and our smart phones kills both creativity and contemplation. We can all be very consumerist so creating boundaries around our phone usage can help us feel more conscious and present.  What’s your relationship like with your smart phone? Do you take it on holiday? Consider turning off after work or charging your phone downstairs rather than in the bedroom at night. Perhaps, if you’re attending a meeting or on a night out with friends, leave it in your pocket/ a bag. Earlier this year, I made the conscious decision to remove email from my phone, preferring instead to access email at a time convenient for me. It has proved transformative.

  • Get busy doing nothing

The business ‘epidemic’ is rampant. Yet, given that we are human beings and not human doings- the danger is that by having no time to ‘switch off’ we are actually depriving ourselves of the art of thinking. In fact, the over stimulation of data robs our brain of the opportunity to innovate and reflect.  We fantasize about having ‘down time’ but how are we using the ad hoc pockets that come our way during the day? Smartphones? Facebook? We all whinge about how busy we are but give us the chance to do nothing and we baulk!! Interesting isn’t it? Lawton Urnsey said “Idleness isn’t a luxury but rather a necessity to keep you at your peak… “ The challenge? Let’s Unplug and Be Idle- it really will make us all more effective!

  • Get Creative

Prior to the internet, an unanswered question would be met with pause for thought: can I work it out? Where can I go to find the answers?  Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important that knowledge”. There are many benefits to ‘getting creative’ one of which is to boost your brain function!  When was the last time you were creative?  Consider challenging yourself to take 20- 30 mins a day to paint, write, bake, garden, take photos or play! What do you do for fun? I’ve taken inspiration from Julia Camerons “The Artists Way” by journaling first thing in the morning. While I did find it challenging to rise a little earlier initially, I am reaping the benefits of having a clear head as I start my day feeling light and free.

  • A Perfect Pause

Creating calm is about being able to identify what is causing stress in our life.  In the world of wellness, the first step is to take notice. Critical to this is pausing to notice how busy your mind is. Do this authentically, find what works for you. I try to incorporate breathing exercises into my working day. Anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes can have an impact.  Sometimes, it can be hard to sit still so I will savour a walk. In fact, research suggests that when we walk we are engaging in a bilateral movement (eg moving our right leg, we stimulate the left side of our brain) which enables us to use all aspects of our thinking abilities. Being in the moment is hugely positive for our mental well being.

  • Forge Meaning in your Goals

September is an opportune time to embrace change. Know that you’re statistically more likely to achieve results if the change has meaning for you. You need to understand your ‘WHY’ . Equally, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your plans for the year and ask yourself if the path you’re taking is still relevant for you. Connect with your vision.

To finish…

The dawn of a new season can often feel like an opportune time to trial and embrace new routines and habits. I read recently, that “what we think, we become”- if that’s the case, this ‘busyness epidemic’ and our forensically focused days are preventing us from taking a leap or doing something differently. Slowing down can be challenging but is key to nourish and replenish yourself both mentally and physically for the months ahead. Remember, a busy mind is an unhappy mind. Aim to cultivate healthier habits – your mind will thank you!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, go to www.changegrowsucceed.com

4 Tips to Inspire your own Innovation!

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Imagine having the brain capacity to have GREAT IDEAS more frequently?

I attended a fantastic workshop recently on the topic ‘Where do great ideas come from’– it was facilitated by the talented Naomi Fein from the ‘Creative Engagers Community’ . It introduced me to the concept that getting an idea is an actual process, a collision of hunches.  It inspired me to reflect on what I should be doing more of/ less of to harvest and encourage my own thoughts and ideas.

Having the mental ability to overcome challenges creatively or simply achieving those results or dreams requires brain power- is there something we could all be doing to cultivate this?

The Dilemma

Steven Johnson (popular science author) in his TED talk asks us to think about what the internet is doing to our brains. The constant engagement of social media and our smart phones kills both creativity and contemplation. The over stimulation of data robs our brain of the opportunity to innovate and reflect. We live in a society of instant gratification enabled by the world wide web. However, it’s the ‘immediacy of the internet’ that more often than not deprives us of the opportunity to pause and consider, all which is critical to fostering  thoughts becoming greater than the sum of their parts!

Did you know that on average, we think 60,000 thoughts per day? And of these, 95% are repeat thoughts from yesterday (the majority of which tend to be negative). Rehashing the past or rehearsing the future only serves to rob us of our mental energy, so what can we do to set the tone to allow our great ideas to take shape? Simon Sinek says that ideas happen when our minds wander, so, here are my 4 tips to reset and invest in our own innovation!

  • Beware the Smart phone

It’s important to manage our boundaries with our cell phones. When you come home from work, switch it off! Sian of Elite Pilates recently shared that she has decided NOT to put email on her new phone, preferring instead to access her email at a time convenient for her. Consider charging your phone downstairs rather than in the bedroom at night or if you’re attending a meeting or on a night out with friends, leave it in the pocket/ the bag. We can all be very consumerist so creating boundaries around our phone usage can help us feel more conscious and present.

  • Negative self- talk

Creating calm is about being able to identify what is causing stress in our life- be it our own negative self- talk or external circumstances & then finding new ways to deal with how you feel. In the world of wellness, the first step is to take notice. Ask yourself, do you have a tendency to focus on what’s not working?

  • Get Creative

Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important that knowledge”. There are many benefits to ‘getting creative’ one of which is to boost your brain function!  When was the last time you were creative?  Consider challenging yourself to take 30 mins a day to paint, write, bake, garden, take photos or play! What do you do for fun?

  • Mindful Moments

Let’s be clear here- mindfulness is not about reaching some ‘zen like’ state but rather being present in a moment without judgement . Being in the moment is hugely positive for our mental well being. Take a personal pit-stop and notice how busy your mind is. Do this authentically, find what works for you.  Find it hard to sit still?  Savour a walk. Connect with your loved ones. Aim to cultivate healthier habits – your mind will thank you!

 

The summer time often lends itself to a slower pace, we are in holiday mode, routines go out the window as we enjoy the longer evenings and the infinite possibilities of what lies ahead. Take the time to renew, let your mind truly wander and let those light bulb moments flow!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life & Business Coach & Master Trainer. She runs a successful practise in Cork called Change Grow Succeed.  For further information, you can contact her directly on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com or visit www.changegrowsucceed.com