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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

 

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.

 

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

5 Tips to optimize your coaching session

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5 Tips to optimize your coaching session

Not sure how to prepare for your up and coming coaching session?

While you may be delighted to have ‘made the call’ and taken the leap, now that your first session is looming, perhaps you’re feeling a bit nervous and not sure about what you should ‘say’ or how to prepare. These are common sentiments from new clients.

It’s important to remember that the purpose of the coaching process is to support you, the client, in effecting the positive changes you wish to make in your life. At Change Grow Succeed, we believe that it’s about refocusing passions, values and priorities and invariably, finding clarity. Essentially, coaching is a goal oriented partnership aimed at achieving results.Through the coaching process you will develop an increased awareness about yourself and the options you have to empower you to lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

Hereunder are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your coaching session.

  1. Arrive early. Turn off your phone. This is your time. If this is your first coaching session, have something in mind that you want to work on. What matters most to you at the moment? Ask yourself “what would be the most useful thing for me to leave here with today?”  If you’re in between sessions, review your notes from the last session or any communication you may have had from your coach.

 

  1. Open Up. The coaching process is based upon dialogue. Talk. Be honest. Think out loud. Trust that the relationship you have with your coach is safe and free from judgement. Equally, understand the moments of silence. Your coach may want to provide you with the opportunity to reflect or pause.

 

  1. Creating change takes time. Behind every role we play (employee, mother, father, wife, sister, brother, friend, etc.), there is a person and issues that arise in one sphere are often paralleled in another (do you ever take work home? Or does being worried about the children creep into your day to day?). Again, this is your time so give yourself permission to explore the different roles you play and the impact they have.

 

  1. Stay committed. Ask yourself: “how committed am I to making a change?” Follow- through on any action steps you prioritized with your coach. With a fresh awareness, the ‘real’ coaching can often happen in between sessions. Often, days after your coaching session, there may occur an ‘AHA’ moment as something resonates with you. Committing extra time to new ideas will move you closer and more quickly to your goal or aspiration.

 

  1. Take Responsibility. Just as you have taken the action to meet with a coach. Be accountable for engaging in the session and following through on your action steps. This is the space where the empowerment will come. Relax and enjoy your new way of being! Make that change. Grow. Succeed.

 

 

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, you can reach her at www.changegrowsucceed.com

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