Saturday, 17 December 2011

Noticing where you are directing your energy....

At this stage you will know that I am a great lover of putting my energy into what I want to create. It is also true that we get trained to put our energy into reacting to circumstances. One study that was completed with 4 and 5 year old children recorded their interactions and found that 85% of the time they were either being told not to do something or being told off for doing something wrong! We really do get conditioned to react and respond to circumstances others create.

So here is a place to look to see where your energy is going..... you have to choose one of each of the following preferences.... ready??

I prefer to be liked or I prefer to be respected.
I prefer to be in control or I prefer to take charge.
I prefer to be the expert or I prefer new experiences.
I prefer not to show emotion or I prefer to express my emotion.
I prefer to keep people at a distance or I prefer to be open to people.

The former preferences are 'reactive' behaviours, the latter are 'creative' in Leadership Circle terms. Notice as you put your energy into your preferences, and know that every day you are creating your future. How do these preferences support you in creating the future you want?

Do you want to try out some new preferences or maybe even start with an inquiry around one or two of them... explore the inquiry from every role you play in your life. Lets say you choose
'I prefer to be respected', then the inquiry you would consider is 'What is it to be respected?'. There is no right answer, only your answer. What would you be doing differently, how would you show up differently, how would people be treating you, how would it feel?

Another way to look at where you are putting your energy is to use the Wheel of Life.

Check out the following Wheel ... and ask yourself which is the most important section to you?

Personal Growth
Physical Environment
Friends & Family
Romance or Partner
Fun & Recreation

Now, ask yourself where is most of your energy going?
You can also look at which is least important to you and how much energy you are putting into that? Have it be simple use a scale of 1-10.
How are you doing in terms of Return on Investment?

So, those preferences may have been true 'up until now' and today is the start of the rest of your life. Today you can choose something different - how exciting!
What preferences or areas of your life will you choose to put your energy into today?

Have fun playing with this and enjoy the holiday season!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

What is Balance.....?

This topic is coming up time and time again, in my coaching of others and in my own life too.
So, what is balance?
What does it mean to you?
Clients often ask me, do you mean work/life balance?

In this blog I am going to have a stab of defining what it is and what it isn't - a balanced view perhaps! Unusual for me, don't you think!

So, here goes.. Balance is part of Self-awareness, it is your ability to keep a healthy balance in the midst of the conflicting pressures of adult life - between business and family, activity and reflection, work and leisure. It is a measure of your tendency to self-renew and to be fueled by creative tension, which is the tension that gets created when you can see a way to achieve your values based vision. As opposed to the more common tension that creates stress and pressure which is unhealthy and self destructive.

As adults we lead complicated lives and we do not have to be Martyrs or Victims of that - we do not need to let the complications and circumstances of our lives make the decisions for us. It is true that we get trained as kids and young adults on how to react and respond to the circumstances in front of us, so, no surprise really that we become masters and responding to the circumstances that others create. When you have a Values based vision of the future that you are committed to and that you believe in, this is the first step to creating the circumstances you want in your life. It is about stepping up to take charge of your life, as opposed to being 'in Control' - what ever that overused and misused phrase actually means!

What does being 'in control' mean to you?
Are we ever 'in control' of anything other than ourselves?
What about 'taking charge' of your life instead? How would that be different?
In my work and in my experience, those of us who want to be 'in control' are the ones who are actually controlling.... who don't trust themselves, and therefore by default others to do the job.
They spend endless hours being busy and actually not getting very much done.
Taking charge means you know what the end goal is, you know what the impact is you want to have and you are both willing to role your sleeves up to help make things happen, as well as being willing to delegate to others to ensure the job gets done. I could write about this distinction between these two for hours, so I will leave it there for now.

Back to balance......
If you have a healthy balance in your life, you are able to handle the stress of life without losing yourself. You are able to maintain high performance and an inner balance or compass by integrating the various aspects of your life.

As a leader in your life you put your attention on your needs for self-renewal, family and leisure as well as work in order to be fulfilled and to maximise your impact, at home and work!
For health, true balance is needed, that is, time for reflection, diet, physical exercise. You know that values are often in competition requiring divided attention to spontaneity and control, family and work life, leisure and career, duty to others and personal development.

Balance means that you have your conscious attention on physical well being, commitment to wholeness and on good time management to avoid the damaging effects of stress. Good balance aids you in remaining calm, considerate and in making good decisions under pressure. You are also aware of the bigger picture in terms of your relationships with others and the wider system you live in....

Here are some of the things that help you maintain balance
- keeping things in perspective
- finding time for personal reflection and renewal
- maintaining a balance between work and family and work and leisure
- practicing good health habits around exercise and diet
- handling stress and pressure well
- demonstrating a high level of maturity
- knowing that work performance is about behaviour and not indentity
- being willing to say no
- being willing to question and debate things
- having clear boundaries between work and home and work and health
- using the 80/20 rule
- knowing you are more than good enough and that your intentions are good

Where is your life in balance?
What are your boundaries?
What single habit could you change that would have the biggest impact on the balance in your life?
What are you making more important than balance?
What ever that is, is it helping you create the circumstances you want in your life?

Here is a place to look - start to notice your habits around work, start and stop times, who controls your diary?
When do you book time for reflection? How do you prioritise your workload?
How do you used tools like email to help you do your job, as opposed to being a slave to them.

Spend about a week, simply noticing and let me know what you notice!

Friday, 28 October 2011

So, what's next on your leadership journey..........

So, you have tamed those Gremlins, noticed those habits that no longer serve you. You have become more self aware by taking training courses, hiring a coach, doing some leadership activities and continually practicing all the skills you have learned.

You are much more aware of who you are (self-awareness) and what's important to you (Values) you are making choices that serve the life you want to create (Vision of the future - based on your Values). You are noticing how you show up in relationship with others and the impact that you intend to have, you are also much more aware of who you are and how to be Authentically yourself. That unique amazing human being that was designed to be just perfect the way you are.

So what's next? Surely the next place to look is - What is the impact you want to have in your world? or the World? and how do you go about it? This is where the Leadership competency of Systems awareness is really important. Even when you are conscious and intentional about your impact, you could argue you are still in level 1, in your own opinion, judgements and experiences etc where you are the centre of attention. What we are looking for is for you to open your lens to take in a wider view of the world. Lets say a Metaview, where you and your world are just a small dot on the landscape of life and where you can have a much bigger impact than the boundaries of your small world.

With Systems awareness you are looking at the bigger picture, you are not just jumping in to fix symptoms. You look for the route cause. You are aware that the system design (be that work or life or even relationship, with yourself and/or others) and the way you operate is the cause of any issues or problems. You are also aware that it is new thinking and ways of being that will create a fundamental shift and you do not trying to work within the same old Paradigm(s). You know from within that you are able to create new systems, in any part of your life that will help you to naturally design the future you envision. You know that even making small changes in the current system will influence the outcome in the future.

You are able to think bigger than just what you want personally, you are able to think of the wider system (family, organisation or relationship) and you are able to see the connection between the long term well being of the community and its delicate relationship with that of the system that is in place.

If you score high in Systems awareness you know that you are an integral part of the whole, and that your actions both affect and reflect the systems larger culture. You are aware that cause and effect often are far removed in both space and time. It is clear to you that problems or issues can not be solved with the thinking that created them. You focus your legacy on contributing to the welfare of others and not on being remembered personally.

You are aware that you personally are a complex system, a mix of light and dark, strengths and weaknesses and that you reflect the world around you. You, once again, accept that when you see parts of other people you find unacceptable that it is just a reflection and points to parts of yourself that you have been unwilling or unable to take responsibility for.

Some of the behaviours that the above beliefs or operating system create are; you are aware that any relationship system needs to be constantly redesigned as we (those within the system) grow and evolve. You ensure that you have open dialogue about the long-term impact of current decisions. You take all the parts of the system into consideration when you start to plan your future, be it Organisationally, personally or in terms of your family. You include those people who are not directly in your system and try to consider the implications of your vision on them, even including them in the planning process - this could be Customer or Vendors if you are working within an Organisation or extended family or community members. You ensure that all the voices of the system are heard when making key decisions and you think about the wider impact of your decisions on the community and the environment.

Where is your Systems thinking limited?
Where do you take others into consideration?
Where are you tolerating a lack of awareness in yourself and others?
What's the gift of taking a Metaview on your life or any decision you a planning to make.
How will slowing down help?
What is the bigger picture?
Where do you want to have more impact your your community, relationships or the world?
Enjoy xx

Monday, 3 October 2011

The journey to Authenticity starts once you've established yourself in the land of self-awareness....

This is where I have been trying to get to for about the last 10 years, to be real and Authentic. I know in my heart and soul that being more of who we are naturally (on the inside) is the key to inner peace and outer success. As I write this, one question that keeps coming up for me is.....
How do you tell people what it feels like, its really hard to explain essence, essence in Systems Coaching terms..... the Systems coaches out there will tell you that essence is so hard to describe because it is exactly that... un-describable. Yeh, so that's the question, how do you tell people about the power of Authenticity when you know, they don't know, what they don't know.

For me Authenticity at the heart and is the heart of personal growth and human development. It takes courage to step into being more of who you are naturally, especially when most of us have allowed our Gremlins to run our lives for most of our time on this planet. Our Gremlins are more worried about what other people will think, and how they will judge us and whether or not we will succeed or fail and if we fail then what will happen....

Imagine how it could be if you focused all that wasted energy onto who you are and what you want to create. That is, to focus your energy towards conscious, intentional impact. This is what I mean when I talk about Authenticity.

Authenticity is your capacity to relate to others in an authentic, courageous and high integrity manner. It is a measure of Leadership that is an expression of your true self - not masked by politics, looking good or winning approval etc. It is also a measure of your willingness to bring up the 'un-discussibles' (risky issues that others avoid), you openly deal with relationship problems and share personal feelings and vulnerabilities about situations. Your inner and outer lives are congruent. Your behaviour matches your values and others trust that you can be counted on to keep your word, meet your commitments and deal with them honestly and fairly and remain true to your own purpose. Authenticity and Integrity are the qualities most desired in a leader.

Below are the internal assumptions that create authentic behaviours in people.

The internal assumptions associated with high levels of Authenticity are
- I am worthy whether people approve of me or not, whether I succeed or not
- Self worth, security and freedom and in my own hands
- I maintain my self-esteem and security by being true to myself
- My greatest source of power is my personal integrity (honouring my values)
- It is more important for me to be true to myself than it is to live up to other peoples expectations
- I am OK even if I make mistakes and hurt other peoples feelings
- I authentically admit my part in the problems we face
- The only way I lose face is by not being true to my Vision and Values
- Change starts with me, I must be the change I want to see in the world.

With those internal assumptions the behaviours that I demonstrate are as follows
- Being trusted by others (you make people feel safe)
- Having high personal integrity
- Directly and clearly addressing issues
- Speaking directly to issues without trying to smooth things over
- Acting courageously in personal interactions and meetings
- Respecting others opinions even if you disagree with it
- Staying open and honest about what you think and feel (even when you feel under attack)
- Managing conflict directly and openly with authenticity
- Surfacing issues that others are reluctant to talk about
- Speaking openly and confronting peers and authority when needed
- Being counted on to meet your commitments
- Exhibiting behaviour that is consistent with your Values
- Living your vision even when it involves taking risks
- Taking responsibility for your part in relationship issues

Where do you walk your talk?
Where do you struggle?
What happens when you are faced with inauthentic people?
How do you respond?
What is your role?
What is the value to you personally of being more of who you are naturally?
My Mantra is by being more of who I am naturally 'I can have more impact with less effort', that doesn't mean it is easy to undo the habits of the past.
What habits do you have left over from the past that no longer serve your vision of the future and the values you want to live your life by today?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Finding a life of fulfillment starts with the journey to Self-awareness........

If you score high on the self-awareness scale you will have some or all of these assumptions;
You'll know that you are inherently worthy and you'll feel secure from the Inside out.... and you'll know that it is not made up of how others see you, or by how you perform.
You know that inner development is the key to grow into more of who you are naturally and that we all, you included, contain a mix of strengths and weaknesses, of light and dark.
You know that the key to accepting others is to first do the work of self-acceptance, which enables you to know that when you find things that are unacceptable in others, it reflects aspects of yourself for which you are not taking responsibility.

The behaviours associated with scoring high on the scale of self-awareness are that you will show composure under pressure, knowing that others judgement of you matters less than your own internal compass.
You will be able to balance the demands of an adult life not sacrificing yourself or making yourself a victim or a martyr. You will not only be open to give and receive feedback you will openly welcome the opportunity to hear the impact your behaviour is having on others and strive to have the impact you intend.
You will also be willing and able to provide direct non-blaming feedback. In fact you will strive to provide information on the impact of behaviour on you plus point the other person to a place where they could have greater impact.
You are willing to admit your mistakes and use times when you fail as well as successes as a place to point yourself in terms of self-development.
You are willing and able to laugh at yourself and your situation and you take time to understand your own and others motivations, strengths and weaknesses.

So, self-awareness is where the journey from reactive strategies to creative competency starts. How aware are you of your internal assumptions and the behaviour they create?
Were do you solicit feedback and ask for areas of growth to focus on?

Or are you like me and say to yourself on a daily basis,
'Oh no, not another f***ing learning opportunity'....

Enjoy your journey of self-awareness and treasure every discovery as an explorer would when they find a new Island, country or animal species, be amazed by the complexity of the human race and be curious about the parts of yourself that you have yet to discover!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

What is Self-awareness and why does it matter....

As I said earlier the Antidote to Protecting Strategy are the Creative Competencies of Self-Awareness, Authenticity and Systems Awareness. I will go on to talk about Self-Awareness in detail and before I do here is a reminder of the Assumptions and Behaviours that come from a learned and habitual use of the Protecting Strategy....

Assumptions are...
for me to be right, others have to be wrong
I am worthwhile if I am right and find the weakness in others
I am valuable because of my superior capability and insight
I am not good enough
I am safe and acceptable if I remain small, uninvolved and avoid risk

and Behaviours those assumptions create are....
Holding back and watching how situations unfold
Identifying what is wrong, illogical or lacking in plans, people or situations
Seeing the flaws in others thinking, feelings, speaking and actions
Always analyising what is right or wrong
Constant Judgement of self and others

The point of these blogs is to create the awareness that a fulfilled life comes from unlearning Reactive Strategies and re-learning Creative Competencies. A short cut to this is to get your Leadership Circle Profile done - so that you know where to start. Once you are certified in the TLC Profile, the Coaching Principles of Fulfillment, Balance and Process are the ideal tools to enable a coach to work with clients in service of their desire to move from the use of Reactive Strategies to Creative Competencies.

Anyway, back to the Creative Competency of Self-awareness as an antidote to the Reactive Strategy of Protecting.

Self-awareness is the on-going personal commitment to personal and professional development. It is also the degree to which your inner-self awareness is expressed through, balanced perspectives and high Integrity (values based) Leadership. This can be Leadership in your life and or Work, of your family, your community or your Leadership in fully expressing your lifes purpose. Please do not make the assumption that this is about Corporate Leadership only - it is that and it is much, much more.

If you have high Self-awareness then you have developed a sense of your life's purpose, you are vital and alive, you act from your internal compass (inner knowing, values etc). You consciously express your values in who you are being and what you are doing, you are trusted by others to 'walk your talk' and people respect you as someone who acts with Integrity (honours your values).

In addition, your sense of self-esteem is based upon an inherent appreciation of life as a journey of learning and development. You are not perfect and you accept that. In fact, you have a greater sense than most of your imperfections and you are always aware of making your peace with them.

You have the ability to be with the Paradox that shows up in yourself, others and the world. So, you accept the weak and under developed parts of yourself as a place to point yourself for inner growth, knowing that there will always be those parts in yourself and others.

You also admit it when you make mistakes and hurt others, and you use these experiences to improve your relationship with yourself and others.

You become less defensive when others criticize you, you are aware that the more you stretch yourself and follow your life purpose the more you leave yourself open to and available for the criticism of others.

You have less to defend because you are aware of the complexity within yourself, and this frees you up to engage powerfully and compassionately with others.

You lead in a way which strengthens the innate capabilities of others and when you see the weaknesses in others you are reminded of your own struggle to grow. Instead of Judging them you actually want them to grow and you actively want to be in service of their growth.

Others talents or successes do not intimidate you and this allows you to surround yourself with very capable people with whom you celebrate their achievements and growth!

How are you with holding the Paradox of right and wrong, strength and weakness, lightness and dark that lives within us all. Are you able to let go of living in a world of 100% either black or white, yes or no, right or wrong and invite the complexities of allowing these opposites to live within you and to allow them to live in the others around you??

Where are you on the scale of Self-awareness?
More to come on Assumptions and behaviours.....

Thursday, 28 July 2011

What behaviours do those beliefs create in us and others.......

If our beliefs are our 'operating system' then they drive our behaviours, they are the external expression of our internal assumptions.... so if the antidote to Protecting is Authenticity (and self and systems awareness - more to come later on those). Then what behaviour do those internal feelings of self-worth, strong self-esteem, personal integrity and personal power create.

The behaviours associated with Authenticity beliefs are

Being trusted by others, Having high personal integrity,

Directly addressing issues that get in the way of relationships or team performance

Speaking directly to the issues without smoothing them over

Acting courageously in personal interactions and meetings

Being able to respect someone else's opinion even if you disagree with it

Staying open and honest about what you think and feel

Managing conflict directly and authentically

Being willing to bring up and talk about issues that others are reluctant to talk about

Confronting people, including superiors, when needed

Being counted on to meet your commitments

Exhibiting personal behaviour consistent with your values

Taking responsibility for your part in relationship and other problems

Speaking openly in the presence of 'authorities'

Living by an effective set of core values

Holding on to your values during good and bad times

Living your vision in every encounter even when that requires risk.

So, you live your life Authentically, give real feedback, have real conversations and you admit your mistakes. You put yourself at risk for what you believe and value openness over popularity. Integrity and authenticity are what people trust the most. It is the source of your power!

Now have think about how familiar these behaviours are and which beliefs they come from ... and notice they are not just what we expect of ourselves, this is who other people know us to be!

We are digging in to the Leadership Circle Profiling tool here and the Adult stages of development. There is a certification programme for TLC in London on 22nd Nov if you are curious and want to get certified in this material. Of course the way to get certified is to get your own profile completed and see how you perceive yourself and what the gap is in between that and how others perceive you. Give me a shout if you are interested in either having your own profile done or attending the certification in London.

During Certification you use your own profile to learn how to interpret the profile of others! It is very powerful work.

Thanks for reading....

Friday, 22 July 2011

What is the antidote.....

Internal assumptions are the beliefs you use to organise your identity... and the antidote to protecting behaviour is Authenticity. Some internal assumptions associated with Authenticity include...

I am worthy whether people approve of me or not, whether I succeed or not

Self worth, freedom, and security are in my own hands

My greatest source of power is my personal integrity (being true to myself)

It is more important to me to remain true to myself than to live up to others expectations

I am OK, even if I make mistakes or hurt other peoples feelings

I authentically admit my part in the problems we face

The only way I lose face is by not being true to my Vision and Values

Change starts with me, I must be the change I want to see in the world....

More on the behaviours these beliefs create at a later date....

Monday, 18 July 2011

Where do you 'come' from.......

So, depending on where I come from (or who I am being) the 'doing' will have a different meaning.

Am I going to the gym because I want to keep my body fit and healthy and honour my value of longevity? Or am I going to the gym because I 'have to!’

Am I hiring a coach because I want to the personal growth, or am I hiring a coach because it says I have to have one during my leadership programme? So I am fulfilling the requirements and 'ticking the boxes'.

Can you feel the difference in the 'come from’? One comes from an external place, so that this or that does or doesn't happen to me, or so that this or that person gets what they want. The other comes from a place of being connected to oneself and ones values....

The place you come from ‘infects’ the thing you are doing with the attitude you have in your approach to it. Where do you have an approach or an attitude that empowers and supports the things that you choose to do? Also, think about where you have an attitude or approach that dis-empowers the things you choose to do.

A very wise person once said to me that people typically show up in one of two ways, as a victim of circumstance or as someone who treats whatever happens to them as an opportunity to learn and grow… which type of person are you? Which type do you want to be?

As I write this I am reminded of the book ‘power and love’ by Adam Kahne and the distinction that he makes between ‘generative’ and ‘degenerative’ Power and Love….

I know that is a bit of a left turn for some of you, or maybe not. The point being that Generative Power and Love are the way to create real change in the world. What I mean by generative is to give power to, to empower people. To treat them as naturally creative, resourceful and whole, knowing that nothing is broken and nothing needs fixing.

I believe that we have Generative or Degenerative attitudes to things and to people and that depending on our attitude we may or may not have the impact we desire.

How do we step out of those degenerative positions and step into generative beings, who know we are loved and who know we are good enough. Who understand that we are loved and respected and that is true all of the time, not just some of the time. People don’t get upset with each other because of what they believe; people get upset because of a behaviour or lack of behaviour. Because we either do or don’t do something that someone was expecting.

How do we stop running away from people, how do we stay engaged, even and more importantly when the going gets tough? Staying engaged in a generative way and saying in dialogue and holding on to the fact that people don’t get upset with us as people, they just get upset at the way we behave. It’s really important to remember this in all of the systems we work in or are part of. Why? Well because we all make mistakes and if we can’t stay engaged life will become isolated and lonely.

Where do you stay and where do you run away?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

What is it all about really......

What I am processing right now is the fact that I am noticing, for me personally and for the lots of the other people in my life, what makes all the difference in the actions we take is 'where is the action coming from'. So, going back to the complying, controlling and protecting reactive strategies I talked about previously, they 'pretty much' all come from a place of 'not being enough'....

So, think about that, 'where are you coming from in the actions you take?'

Also I notice that actions that come from the place of not being enough are usually about coping with the circumstances of now, explaining and justifying how we got to where we are and why it's important to dwell on the past and coping with now. Usually, there seems to be 'struggle' that is going on when this happens. God do I remember how much energy I used to use up trying to change 'what is'. So what if we decide to let go of judgement around 'what is' and just let it be.
Can you feel the freedom of 'it is, what it is'.

I good friend of mine reminded me of the Serenity Prayer yesterday, not just the first couple of sentences, more importantly the lesser known second part of the prayer, here's a reminder for those of you who are unfamiliar with it.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

What if we just accepted that way of being. How would your world look, feel, be different?

I am personally going to 'chew' on that for a while. I guess my initial impression is, how do I do this when those around me aren't, can't or don't know how.... Anyway, as usual I will start with myself. Here's the place I am looking, Oh! this is brilliant, where do I come from when I see these former behaviours in others, do I just allow them to process it for themselves or do I jump in and try to fix it for them?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Talk about layers......

Well, what can I say, how long have I been doing this work for? Nearly ten years now and still I have learning about how it unfolds over time.
I had a very sad personal experience recently, the loss of a good friend to Cancer after a four and a half year battle - she fought hard to keep her dignity and always remained determined to maintain the best quality of life she could, until the very end.

I had been with Ruth when she went for her first Chemo appointment, it was distressing to see someone who had always put a 'brave face on' scream in the distress as the nurses were not able to get the needle into her vein to start the treatment. This first visit has left a huge mark on me and my experience that day really helped me to understand that honoring values is does not always feel good at the time. Now, however I am so proud that I was with her, not just on that day but on every appointment for her first round of Chemo and then again when she got diagnosed as the tumor reappeared after a small time in remission.

As my friend got sicker she withdrew from her extended friendships and focused her energy on her family and grandchildren and very closest friends. I tried to contact her on many occasions and although we talked, briefly and emailed some we didn't really see much of each other in the last year of her life. I realised after our last conversation on 31st October 2010 that the next time I would be with Ruth would be her Funeral. And that turned out to be true!

As I write this, (bye the way, after the initial sorrow and tears at the time she died, I have been in neutral about this topic for about 3 weeks) I notice that it is starting to stir things (emotions) up inside me. I like that feeling.

I believe that my sadness around Ruth's death is without doubt the loss of a dear and loving friend with whom I shared lots of professional experiences at work. I will always remember our first meeting, which happened to be in a smoking room when she was talking about the people she was managing at the time. Ruth had a sharp mind and sometimes an even sharper tongue. Anyway, she said that the people she was working with only walked straight because they had a 'chip on both shoulders', well I laughed until I almost cried.... so I miss those times and the times after she retired when we shared holidays and other experiences together.

Her loss has also opened something else up in me, I realised that those people who I had expected to be there for me, were not. No calls, no emails not even a cyber hug! That hurt me a lot and I was bewildered, shocked and stunned at this. I had people from my Choir calling me and hugging me in the street, people at the gym doing the same and friends of myself and Ruth were able to support each other, all of which was a great help to me.

The realisation of the old pattern came just a few days ago, and to be honest I am quite shocked at this discovery myself, so stick with me, this might get messy! The realisation I had was, this is the same pattern that has shown up all my life in intimate relationships, I am always there, I always lean in, sometimes more that 100% and guess what, the pattern is that quite often I fall over! Because the people I was leaning in to, can not, or do not lean back to stop me from falling.

It makes me sad to admit this to the world and yet I know it is true, my Gremlin in having a field day right now, telling me I'm not lovable and its because they think I am so independent that I don't need help. What I know to be true is that I have a value around 'being there' for people and clearly I also want people to 'be there' for me. So, when they are not I feel alone and isolated and very sad.

This has both painful and great learning all at the same time. What I am most proud of during this experience is that I have owned my own emotions, I have not placed blame on others and projected my needs onto others as their inadequacy. I have stayed with the emotions until something shifted, some realisation happened and some learning took place within me.

I am now ready to engage in conversation about this experience and this blog has helped me to create learning around this whole experience too. I didn't have much idea what I was going to write today and yet when I put finger to keyboard, it just seemed to flow.

With love to you and those you love, alive or not, may you remember them always. The priest at Ruth's service said 'people die twice, the first time physically and the second time when they are forgotten'. Ruth will never be forgotten nor will the learning she gave to me in my friendship with her when she was alive and the gift she left me with as she passed on to the next world. Thank you my friend.

I'm leaving this blog with tears in my eyes and love in my heart.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Are you moving towards, away from or against people?

Interesting eh! What did you notice about your behaviours?

Are you moving against people? Do you demonstrate any of the following?
Compete with people? Set exacting standards? Strive for perfection?
Need to get your own way? Do you .....
Exert tremendous effort and energy to achieve goals? Speaking directly and bluntly?
Push yourself and others to win? Take charge in most situations?

Are you moving away from people? Do you demonstrate any of the following?
Holding back to see how situations unfold?
Identifying what is wrong, illogical or lacking in plans?
Do you see the flaws in others' thinking, speaking and actions?
Are you always analysing what is right and wrong all the time?

Are you moving towards people? Do you demonstrate any of the following?
Being a do-gooder?
Saying 'yes' when you really mean 'no'?
Cautiously managing what you do to stay in the good grace of others?
Calibrating the emotional climate in situations to see if it is safe to speak?
Double checking with Authority/Hierarchy before taking any action?
Couching your speech so that others will not have a strong emotional response?

There are gifts and costs the these behaviours and usually the impact depends on the receiver!
Yes I know, that's a downer isn't it - the impact you have is typically different depending upon who you are in dialogue with or being with at the time.

Where I would point you (any myself) is to notice the emotional impact on yourself of these behaviours and know that whatever you are experiencing is of your own choice. There may be nothing happening with the other person or people you are interacting with.

We could save ourselves a lot of time and effort in simply noticing our learned behaviours and asking ourselves the question. How does this serve me? and Where does it get in my way?
Then choose the behaviours that serve you and get curious about what beliefs create the behaviours that get in your way.

What are the beliefs you are attached to that no longer serve you?
Get writing.....

Saturday, 14 May 2011

How our beliefs impact our behaviour....

Of course I hear you say - Doh! And think about it... when do you sit down and get conscious of all those beliefs? I just did some work with Rick Carson the author of Taming you Gremlin (an amazing man and an amazing book the strap line of which is, a surprisingly simple method of getting out of your own way. The point being that Rick says that beliefs are just opinions that we have become attached to. Think about that, just an opinion that you have become attached to.

Here are some very common beliefs;
Fast is good and slow is bad. More is better. Less is better. Guilt has value. Being busy means I'm valued. If I'm dedicated and work hard they'll look after me. If I am honest and open then everyone else will be too.

Now, there is nothing wrong with these as opinions or even positions to take at some point in our lives about some circumstances. However, the issue arises when these opinions become a 'way of life', when we make rules up, that define this is the way it is, and this is how we act and react to all circumstances we are faced with and that these beliefs are 'the truth'.

In conjunction with the Rick Carson work, I have also being doing lots of work around the 'Adult stages of development' and strangely enough this work talks about the strategies we deploy as children in order to stay safe and be loved. So, lets explore that for a while before coming on to what those strategies are. See and

As children we are born into a 'land of giants', we are at their mercy and there is no doubt that they are in charge. The adults in our lives can give us too much love, not enough love, they can involve us in arguments that don't involve us, or ask us to take sides. They can give us too much responsibility or not enough. Too much freedom or not enough freedom and so on and so forth.

At a very young age we decide on 'typically' one of three strategies to survive in this 'land of giants', where the adults make all the rules. Controlling, Protecting or Complying are all reactive strategies we use to respond to external circumstances or influences and we all do some, or all of them as children and habitually we bring some of that behaviour into our adult lives.

Controlling is about being the best, knowing what needs to happen and taking action, it's about getting the job done, it's about being as good or better than the adults who are in charge, so that we will be accepted and therefore safe - they will admire and appreciate us, if not look up to us.

Protecting is about being the expert and keeping it to ourselves, so we distance ourselves and we look on from afar, knowing the answers, knowing what needs to happen and being unwilling or unable to engage. If we keep our distance then we are safe and no-one can hurt us.

Complying is about being in relationship, its about moving towards people, focusing on people, its about wanting to be liked and connecting with the people who have power without wanting to have the power oneself. So that the powerful people will take care of us.

So, I am going to stop my output here for now.... and ask you to do some work....

1) Take a moment to write down your beliefs, and the behaviours they create. Try not to get into analysis, simply notice what they are.

Once you have done that, take a break and when the time is right then come back and
2) have a think about what reactive strategies you learned as a Child that are still present in your behaviour today.

More to come.....

Monday, 4 April 2011

Our view on the world creates the experience we have of it....

I feel compelled to write about my learning from a coaching class I led this weekend in London. The class was all about conscious choice and finding a powerful perspective to view your situation from, for the sake of creating from possibility rather than circumstance.

Firstly, I personally had a 'breakthrough' or 'light bulb' moment this morning myself about the way I was viewing the weekend and the attitude I had.... it was very powerful for me to realise that although my point of view was powerful, with one small 'tweak' I could have really shifted something that bothered me! I am so interested and excited about the simplicity of this work and yet the complexity of us as human beings. I think that is why, when we run these courses, every one is a different experience, with a different group and a different set of leaders.

It is a great lesson for all of us to know that we, as human beings, are the things that change our own and others experience of life. Also within the experience we share with others, we actually do not share the same experience, we may be in the same room, viewing the same material, coaching or working experentially with people - and still, we will not experience it in the same way! How cool is that!

Now when we expand that experience to the rest of our lives, of course that means that when we are in relationships with others, we are having different experiences in the same relationship. Doh! I hear you say! So, if that is true - how much permission do we give ourselves to get curious about what is going on for the other person? How much responsibility do we take for sharing our experience of the relationship with them? Or do we just default to blaming them or making them wrong! This is a huge subject to simply notice your own habits around.

Where are you blaming others for your attitude towards them, or your point of view on them??

Where are you stuck in the place of being a victim or villain or hero, any of these perspectives or points of view automatically create the other two roles for other people in your life.

So, you can't be a victim unless someone else is being the villain and if you are being the victim then your a probably waiting for someone to come and rescue you from the villain... and be your hero... this is so fascinating to explore. The only way out is to get into a more powerful perspective on the subject.

Finding powerful perspectives to view ourselves and the world creates a rainbow of colour in our lives, it removes the black and white and allows us to experience lots of colours, creativity and spontaneity in our lives. Can you imagine getting curious about how everyone else was viewing their experience of life and coming from a place of not knowing.... well that is our job as Coaches are Leadership Trainers.

How would being in a place of not knowing serve you in your life? What or who would you get curious about? What would there be to celebrate about that? What would be fascinating about that? I know some of you won't understand the next statement - and I know some of you will.

So, as I sit here on my 'Bench' and view my world, I see that I can create a more powerful experience for myself by making some very small 'tweaks'. Happy me!