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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

Are you an Imposter?

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“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

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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.

 

5 Remedies to cure your Disease to Please!

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Are you a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to say ‘No’?

Prompted by several clients who are self- confessed ‘People Pleasers’ and who have a desire to change but are not sure how, I set about researching the topic in more detail.

People pleasers are essentially lovely people who go out of their way to make other people happy. They have a bias towards collaboration and consideration for others. They tend to have highly tuned empathy and find it easy to adapt. The impact? They tend to say ‘yes’, when what they really want to say is ‘no’.  People pleasing may have served them in the past but when it becomes a default mode of being, it can be challenging to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Why not just say no? Fundamentally, it’s a mindset that works against them; some fear conflict, some don’t like to disappoint others or appear to be less than capable. Some feel that ‘ignoring the needs of others’ appears wrong and even rude!  Yet, by and large they report feeling overworked and resentful at saying “yes” to tasks that serve the agenda of others. Moreover, they feel frustrated at their lack of power and control over their own schedule, not to mention their anger at seemingly ‘getting nothing done’.

In a world where work is becoming infinite (just think about your ‘inbox’!) Having the ability to say “No” requires us to cultivate a mindset in which this is ‘ok’. The following 5 tips serve to remind us all how:

  1. Connect

Getting in touch with who you are, your values and beliefs is critical in getting started. Take the time to pause and reflect. Ask yourself ‘how am I responding to this?’ Look at your current behaviours and remember that it is in making the teaspoon size changes that can have the biggest impact.

 

  1. Set Boundaries

Be clear about your limits. Reset and revise your own boundaries if necessary. In setting these, remember, your responsibility is to yourself. If you don’t respect your needs, others won’t. If the receiver is unhappy, coin a mantra or ask a question such as ‘is there another way to look at this?’ Place the focus on something productive.

 

  1. Own your choices

Don’t feel the need to buy into some-one else’s chaos. Consider, if you say ‘yes’, consider what are you saying ‘no’ to? Remember to yield– research tells us that we are most susceptible to saying ‘yes’ in the minutes after a request. Yielding offers us valuable time to position our response!

 

  1. Be assertive

Assertive communication is about directing dialogue to what IS possible. If a situation is not working for you, say it and follow it with “can we put our heads together to figure this out”. Engage the asker! Focus on the substance of your objection over any ‘mud- slinging’.

 

  1. Say NO

Grasp that saying ‘no’ is not selfish and is vital to sustain healthy and functional relationships. In her book “Who’s pulling Your Strings?” Harriet B Braiker says “Conflict can and should be handled constructively. When it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is *not* the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication”. Remember that being nice, is not the same as being helpful.

 

Courage can transform us into the best version of ourselves positively impacting self- esteem and happiness. The good news is that bravery is a skill we can all learn (or re learn). It is an active process so it does need practise. Thus, if you want to be the hero of your own story, practise small acts of bravery and watch life open up before you! And I’ll bet that you will feel a whole lot better and may even have some extra time to devote to something that YOU actually enjoy!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based life and business coach and master trainer. For more information, you can contact her directly on http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

Managing Millennials

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The millennial generation has become a media phenomenon that is difficult to escape from. In an era of multigenerational workforces, it’s paramount that today’s leaders consider tactics that will empower and embrace the unique needs of this age bracket.

So, who are the Millennials? Broadly speaking, if you were born in the 1980’s or 1990’s- you fit into this category. While it is important not to over- generalise, millennials as a generation do possess certain traits and behaviours that differ significantly from previous generations such as, they are tech savvy, highly educated, extremely efficient, hardworking and adapt well to change. They also value authenticity and meaningful work, they want to make an impact in what they do. There is also a negative stereotype that surrounds this generation such as, they’re lazy (the ‘armchair activist’!) have a sense of entitlement, can be narcissistic, have a distrust of bureaucracy but most commonly, that they are extremely difficult to manage in the workplace.

Given that there are an estimated 82 million millennials in the workforce today, developing this generation is something that requires investment and a considerable shift in mind set to empower them in their roles. Business leaders play an important role in the process of adapting and supporting this dynamic group and have an opportunity to flex their own style driving growth and development for their staff. Recently, I spoke at an event whereby I shared my tips for managing millennials in the workplace, using the acronym ENGAGE as follows:

E is for Empathy

In order to support this generation, we need to get to understand what drives them. This starts with empathy. Simon Sinek talks about the importance of understanding the environment they grew up in relative to two key points; technology and parenting. While technology has transformed the way we work, it has also transformed the way we connect with each other and our ability to form meaningful relationships and cope with stress has been negatively impacted. Technology has fostered an environment for immediacy reducing our patience and ‘will’ to persevere.

Relative to parenting, the majority of this generation has been in receipt of empowering messages such as ‘you can be whatever you want’ which has contributed to a sense of entitlement that does not transfer to the workplace. In fact, employers report that while this generation will see the ‘summit’, they don’t see the ‘mountain’ and invariably, the millennials ability to innovate and persevere greatly decreases. They can disengage and in some cases, hand in their notice.

N is for New Leaders

According to forbes.com, by 2025, the millennial generation will occupy 75% of the overall workforce. As such, one of the primary responsibilities of today’s leaders is to create a leadership pipeline. While this generation are highly educated, they lack in the areas of soft skill development. Supporting them in the ‘Human Skills’ such as Personal Impact, Influencing, Communication, Situational Leadership and Managing Stress is critical in the development of a  leadership skillset. Bespoke leadership programs add immense value in this space.

G is for Grow Relationship

‘Be a mentor, not a boss’. There is an opportunity for business leaders to evaluate their own role in building relationships with their teams and ask questions of themselves such as, how am I currently communicating? What works well? What’s not working? How can I flex my own style?

Aim to foster engagement with inverse mentoring tactics. This can lead to a more reciprocal relationship and openness when heading advice and guidance from senior team members.

A is for Action

We know that this generation are hardworking and favour results. Leverage from this, provide structure and/or process around achieving short- term goals. Offer them flexibility (where possible) in the manner in which to complete tasks. It is important however, to be mindful of the fact that this generation are characterised by impatience so, they will need support in having patience and perseverance in dealing with any obstacles.

G is for Give Feedback

Research suggests that the annual review model does not empower the millennial generation and that a more dynamic feedback model is favoured. There are some high impact feedback models in existence that we, in Change Grow Succeed support businesses in implementing. The coaching model is also high impact. Not only does coaching inspire action and focuses on results but it is a highly individualised form of learning. Supporting leaders in their coaching skills can often yield high results and allow for richer communication within teams.

In addition, share how their role fits into the overall strategic plan or process, knowing how and where they fit in relative to their role is important to them (indeed, to us all!)

E is for embrace

And enjoy! The arrival of this generation is an opportunity to learn about ourselves and also the world in which we live. So, do take ownership of your role in this process and aim to do one small thing differently to effect positive change within your team and your own leadership style. This generation are here to stay- let’s make the most of it!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. She regularly coaches and supports businesses with intergenerational workforces. For more information, contact her directly on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

3 Steps to ensure Interview Success

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I was delighted to have this blog published recently on the EmployMum.ie website.

interview

You’ve just been invited for interview and the delight that initially hit you is now replaced by pure dread. Sound familiar? You begin to panic as some of the following thoughts enter your head:

  • “How will I answer the question about the gap in my CV?”
  • “I am so out of touch with the workplace, I’ll never survive an interview!”
  • “What do I wear? I have no clothes!”

To offset this mode of panic, it’s important to reframe the term ‘Interview’. Quite simply, it’s a meeting with an objective. One party seeks to find the best candidate for a position on offer. Another party is seeking to impress the interviewer and assess the position on offer.  Mind management is key in this nerve racking process and good preparation lies at the essence. So, here are my 3 tips to ensure that your experience at interview is successful!

Prepare“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”

  • Collect and revise all relevant documents for this position. This includes an original job advert, your CV (or application form) and a cover letter (if you sent one in)
  • Research – the organisation and the role. The Internet and social media (LinkedIn in particular) is a fantastic resource. Perhaps you know of somebody already working in this company? See if you can meet them for a chat.
  • Plan your route – Be sure you know where you are going and how long it will take to get there. Aim to arrive 20 -30 minutes before hand. And finally,
  • Prepare answers to questions you’ll most likely be asked. There are three categories of questions that form the nucleus of the interview process:
    • Can you do the job (questions relating to your skills, abilities and qualifications)
    • Will you do the job (questions relating to your interests, attitude and motivation)
    • Are you a good fit for the organisation (usually, your personality)

It’s imperative to prepare for a typical Interview Ice breaker such as Tell me a bit about yourself or “Talk me through your CV”. This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself, your skills and experience.

Of course, if you haven’t worked in a while, an obvious answer to prepare for is I see a gap in your CV…” The thought of answering this question is daunting for many. Here, I always reassure my clients to be honest, acknowledge the gap but bring the conversation back to your readiness for the role at hand e.g. “I took time out to rare my young family. It was a fantastic time and we have all benefited hugely from it and now I’m ready to return to work and believe I have a lot to offer for this role, such as …”

Perhaps you have up skilled in that time? E.G. “I used some of this time to reassess the direction of my career and decided to up skill/ re train in …” You can see that the language is very active and positive. Remember, interviewers are humans too and by nature, we are story tellers. This is your story to tell!

Practise – “The more I practise, the luckier I get!”

As with every skill you’ve ever learned, mastering interview techniques require time, practice and perseverance.  Three methods that I find most effective are:

  • Practise in front of a mirror! You will feel a bit *strange* but this technique appeals to all the senses- you get to see and hear yourself talk through your responses. You can also gauge your body language.
  • Mock interview – This is a simulation of an actual job interview. It will not only help you perfect your technique, but it will also allow you to get valuable feedback on your performance. Your coach or a trusted friend can help you here.
  • Breathing – Sit still and engage with your breath. Notice how busy your mind is and take a few deep breaths. This will keep you grounded and supply your brain with oxygenated air.

Whatever route you take to practising, it will all help to reduce interview stress and boost your confidence. Finally,

Present  – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression!”

  • Attire – Etiquette can vary from sector to sector. Smart is always preferable (I recommend being overdressed rather than under dressed!)
  • Engage with your own body language and that of your interviewer. Smile, shake hands, make eye contact.
  • Thank the interviewer at the end of your meeting!
  • Ask questions– Not only will this demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm but it’s an opportunity for you to gauge if this role is a good fit for you. Questions on training, reporting structure, profile of staff and next steps are all appropriate at this stage.
  • Post interview- do review your own performance for example, make a note of what went well, what you wish you had said and any preparation for the next stage. If, in the case you receive a rejection letter or email, do request feedback where appropriate and use it!

While Interviews are daunting, they aren’t any great mystery and I hope that my 3 tips Prepare, Practise and Present will help to demystify the interview process and support you in nailing your next Interview!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer and is founder of Change Grow Succeed. For further information, please contact her on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

Be Bold and Take Hold of your Career

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career change 2017

The theme of this years’ International Womens Day is ‘Be Bold for Change’ .

What can be “bolder” than changing careers?  At this time of year we often begin to reflect on where we’re at, where we want to be etc. The ‘New Year New You’ momentum is dissipating and we begin to ask questions of ourselves.  Does this resonate with you?

  • Work is the same ‘ole, same ‘ole but what can I do?
  • I would love a change but where would I start?
  • Today was crazy busy but why do I feel like I got nothing done?
  • I would love to change jobs but how can I when life is so busy with the kids?

Feedback from the women I meet is that this unrest can often trickle into their personal lives and the frustration and stress of being in a job that they don’t really like anymore. Changing job or even career is definitely on the cards but where to start? Recruitment Websites? Update a C.V.? And then, there’s the challenge of time “I’m already up to 90 with school runs/ nappies- where would I find the time to research a new job- I wouldn’t even know where to start!”

My advice is to start at the beginning which is around identifying your skills and interests. We are products of our environment which is constantly changing. As our priorities or circumstances change, we adapt accordingly. Thus, what may have attracted us to a position 5 years ago may not appeal to us anymore. If you want to change your career, it’s imperative to identify what ‘floats your boat’ now. Constructive evaluation is key to this process. But where or  how to start?

Here are the tips I would like to share with you if you feel the need to professionally re- evaluate:

  1. Buy a notebook (create your own ‘Career Change 2017’ portfolio!)

 

  1. Reflect on your previous roles/ jobs and make a note (in aforementioned notebook!) of the aspects you enjoyed while working there- think specifically about the tasks and responsibilities, the environment and the people

 

  1. Make a note your top achievements in your career history and what gave you the greatest sense of pride

 

  1. Complete an interest inventory. These questionnaires are designed to capture your interests and map them onto career sectors! There are some great websites out there and I would recommend http://www.careersportal.ie/ and navigate to the ‘Self- Assessment’ section. Remember the input will determine the output so take the time and go with your gut!

 

  1. Psychometric Assessment is a fantastic resource to further understand your strengths and abilities (and areas for development!)- alot of the ‘good ones’ are licensed and thus, come at a fee but there are some nice freebies out there which will help to boost your awareness. I recommend http://www.humanmetrics.com/ and http://www.cmi-lmi.com/kingdomality.html

 

  1. Start looking for patterns in the feedback above and align this with your own notes from pointers 2 and 3 (above)

 

  1. Now, you have the opportunity to make informed choices about employment sectors/ roles or maybe you have now decided that you need to retrain? If this is the case, look no further than qualifax.ie which is a centralised resource for ALL COURSES running in Ireland. Enter your county, some keywords (again, based on your research) and away you go!

A career coach will assist you in this journey, provide support through your research, educate you on tips and tricks of the trade and offer you choices and resilience as you prepare to make the change.

Be Bold. Make a change. Grow. Succeed.

Good luck with it!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business coach who also specialising in career change. She is founder of www.changegrowsucceed.com. For more information, please contact her directly.

Return to Work with Confidence- a Workshop!

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Gillian at Change Grow Succeed and Karen at EmployMum and are thrilled to announce a 1 day practical workshop on ‘Return to Work with Confidence’ which will leave you feeling focused, empowered and ready to take your next step with confidence! It’s aimed at women who have taken time out of the workplace and who now wish to re- enter! If you, or some-one you know can answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions below, this could be the solution for you!

  • Are you a Stay At Home Mum looking to return to work?
  • Do you find you have a bit more free time during the day?
  • Would you love to work but not full-time?
  • Do you need support in taking that next step?
  • Not sure where to start?
  • Want to feel confident about your job search?

 

Attendees of the workshop will benefit from:

  • Tools to identify your strengths and your transferrable skills
  • Building and updating your CV
  • A small group to ensure that everyone gets support (Maximum of 10 participants)
  • Sharing and developing strategies around your own challenges in managing this transition
  • Knowing how to use social media to boost job search with a focus on LinkedIn
  • Interview Techniques (including how to sell that gap)
  • Full training pack featuring handouts, workbooks and templates
  • Lunch

This full day also allows for the opportunity to network and enjoy peer discussion.

Book here to secure your place!

Hope to see you there!

More about Gillian and Change Grow Succeed              More about EmployMum

New Year Fear? Replace Resolution with Result by changing your Habits!

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In 2017, do you want to do something differently or just do different things? Perhaps you want to get fit, quit smoking or go on that family holiday?

I love the sense of optimism the New Year brings and there’s no doubt it’s an opportune time to embrace new dreams and foster new habits. Fresh starts and new beginnings connect us all and as human beings, we all hope for a happier and healthier 2017. A lot of us start the new year with a bang but this momentum is often lost before January is over. So what goes wrong?

In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg tells us that a study completed in Duke University in 2006, revealed that 40% of the actions that people perform each day weren’t decisions but habits! Let’s pause on that for a moment. That means that our brains have  involvement in only 40% of our daily activities! It seems that when a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in any decision making. Thankfully, habits are not our destiny but unless we deliberately tackle them or find a new routine, these patterns will unfold automatically.

So, how do we tackle the habits that hinder us? Let’s say that you want to quit smoking. Duhigg explains that habits are created by putting a cue, routine and reward together and that cultivates a craving. For example, a smoker sees (cue) a packet of cigarettes and the craving grows until (s)he reaches for one (routine) and lights up (reward).

To change a habit, you must keep the old cue, deliver the same reward but insert a new routine e.g. a smoker needs to find some activity to replace cigarettes when a nicotine craving is triggered. To overpower the habit, (s)he should identify the behaviour that is driving the craving. For example, is it boredom? Is it a need to socialise? Is it to manage stress?

Empowered with this nugget of information, consider what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to maintain momentum and ensure that 2017 is my year? Examine your current behaviours, particularly those that may hinder your progress. Look at your existing habits, what do you need to do differently?

Remember, great achievements always start with great questions.

Good Luck it with and have a great New Year!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, see http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

S.O.A.R. Beyond the Stress! An ode to working parents

I was delighted to have my article (below) published on A Lust ForLife this week. See:

http://www.alustforlife.com/mental-health/well-being/soar-beyond-the-stress-food-for-thought-for-working-parents

working-parent

It’s hard being a working parent -being a parent full stop. The working part adds another dimension of chaos. While mid- term was a great break, I am looking forward to settling back into the school routine. However, the harsh reality is that we are merely two days in and already it feels like a few months and life is hostage to activities such as (do these sound familiar to you?):

  • The school and crèche drop offs
  • Managing the demands of work
  • Racing home
  • Afterschool Activities
  • Dinner
  • Prepare for the next day

Of course, this does not include laundry, groceries, homework. Neither does it include quality time with my children, my hubby, friends or myself.

But how can you do it all when there are just not enough hours in the day??!!

Think  S.O.A.R.

We all know that life is a whirlwind and goes by in a blink. In the midst of all the coming and going that are the tasks of being a working parent, it’s important to know that life is how you see it. You get to choose the view! It’s not about resisting the activities on this list above or creating another list to manage it (!!) Rather, it’s about :

  • STOP – when you feel overwhelmed or stressed, purposely, take 5, have a cuppa / sit still and take a moment to yourself. When you’re truly still, you leave yourself open to thinking with a clear head, allowing you to reframe or think differently (and sometimes this is all you need to feel at ease!)
  • Own your choices – at some point, this path was our ‘game-plan’. We hoped for a family and all the joy that children bring. Some of us also made a decision to work in parallel with raising our children. This is the path we’re on and we can choose for it to be ‘stressful ‘ or ‘joyful’. Actually, it’s more than a choice, it’s a way of life and sometimes, we do need to work at taking the joy from our day to day …And I’m sure you don’t have to look too far!
  • Accept– It is a busy time! It can be hard and sometimes draining but this is what we signed up for! If your schedule is too hectic, make changes or ask for help. At very least, try to find a way to make peace with your ‘here and now’. Resisting or stressing will not change a thing- it will only make life harder.
  • Reaffirm and Reassure –Choose to take the joy. It isn’t always easy but know that you choose how you experience your life! You have the power!

So, next time that you’re running from the school gate to work or, in work rushing from a meeting to the canteen, think “S.O.A.R”.  At the very least, STOP. Breathe. Reframe.  To summarise, enjoy your little ones, enjoy being a working mom/ dad and take joy in the activities that ‘need doing’! Choose to embrace the path you’re on and by making this mental shift, the real joy will come!

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