22 Jul

When does change happen?

“So when does the change happen?” – A question I get asked a lot. And its often asked in the same manner as someone would ask “When will we be eating dinner?” It seems many people assume that with coaching there is an immediate change, in the same way there is an instant change from being hungry to being full after meal time.

The results of coaching are not instant and it does take a fair bit of time before the desired results can be seen.

When you start off with the coaching process, first you are invited to explore  alternative options and views, which you probably wouldn’t have looked at or even considered before. Deep down inside however, there may still be a desire to stick with the status quo. You may logically know that the change is best, but you are still hesitant to committing to the new way. Rightly so, new is unknown, untrialled and potentially risky. Old habits do definitely die hard and it takes courage to move outside of your comfort zone and make the choice to alter your current situation for the better.

So when does the change happen? Change starts to happen when you stop just saying you are going to change, and you actually do it. When you stop observing the alternatives from a safe distance. When you choose to include those alternative views and habits into your life. When the “new way of doing things” becomes the norm. When you stop looking at the change with fear.

So how do you get to this stage of being comfortable with your change decision and actually doing it?

This is a tricky question and is different for every person. Some arrive at change faster than  others. The following questions may assist or prompt you to act.

  1. What is your biggest motivator for this change? Is your motivator intrinsic or extrinsic?
  2. If you didn’t make the change and everything remained as is, how would it affect your life?
  3. How often do you put off thinking about the possibility of change?
  4. Have you set yourself a deadline?
  5. Who is supporting you with your decision?
  6. What resources do you have to assist you in facilitating this change?

And lastly, what does your gut tell you?

Need some assistance? Contact me. nicole@tikumu.co.nz for professional business coaching.

15 Jul

Are you married to your job?

Are you married to your job? Don’t worry this is not a loaded question to make you feel bad about spending more time at the office than you should. How much time you spend at work is your own choice. You might really enjoy those long hours.

Most of us spend a considerable amount of our lives working, so perhaps I should phrase the question in this way. Are you happily married to your job?

For me, a happy fulfilling marriage or partnership is built on many things. The same goes for a happy fulfilling job. Besides good communication skills, sharing common goals and having a strong self-awareness. A strong foundation for both of these is having a set of shared values .

Now, it probably depends on which stage of life you are in, as your priorities and values at 22 are very different to your priorities and values at 45. A fresh out of school or college graduate will most probably say that having a job is all about getting a pay check, finally gaining independence and building up the required work experience. So in a nutshell they value money, independence and experience above all else.

Now you may maintain these values throughout your career and be perfectly happy. However, as you move through your career your values may shift. This shift is not always known to us upfront, but what we might start noticing or feeling  is that our work satisfaction and motivational levels have decreased. This could mean a host of different things and before you pull your hair out perhaps start by asking yourself these questions.

  1. What was the initial reason for me joining the business?
  2. Have my prioritise or values changed since joining the business?
  3. Are the business values aligned to my current personal values?
  4. Does the business live up to their stated values?
  5. Do I trust that the business will align all important decisions it makes with its values?

By answering these questions you will clearly see if you share the same values, or you may identify an area which needs to be reviewed. For example one of the parties might not be living their values, or your own personal values may have shifted. It may not be about money and independence anymore, it may be about integrity, honesty and trust.

Then like in any marriage or partnership, the crucial question is asked. Do I stay and work through these issues, through good times and bad times, or do I choose to leave? The choice is yours.

01 Oct

When last were you hijacked?

Emotional hijacking can either save our lives or cripple them, depending on the situation and the emotional trigger of either fight, flight or freeze.

The problem we face today according to Daniel Goleman, is that our brains and specifically the amygdala cannot differentiate between actual physical threats and complex symbolic threats. In other words, to the amygdala there is really no difference between the fear of being eaten by a hungry predator, and the fear we may feel towards a demanding, dominating and over-bearing boss.  The overall feeling is fear and the amygdala goes into over-drive, attempting to hijack us in order to save us from this scary situation. Do we run, fight or freeze?

It is probably safe to say that most of us will not be dinner for hungry predators any time soon, but the threat of a dominant, terrifying boss who triggers stress and fear in us can be very real.

With both scenarios mentioned above we narrow our attention and fixate on the emotion. Our thoughts become pre-occupied with the emotion of fear. The danger is when we act on that emotion. Unfortunately applying any of these actions of fight, flight or freeze towards the scary boss would probably cause more harm than good, especially the fight option. Therefore, what we do during this hijacking phase can redeem us or damage us.

We do thankfully have the ability to rationalise these impulses and control how we act. It is  our choice on how we act. How self-aware we are will decide the final outcome.

Viktor E. Frankl stated in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

So the next time you feel a strong emotion taking over such as fear or anger try asking yourself the following questions.

  1. What would the consequences of my actions be if I acted without thinking them through?
  2. Would those consequences “save” me or damage me?
  3. How can I eliminate that feeling of fear or anger? What would I need to change about myself to move past this emotion?
  4. Is there a common trigger in my life which evokes this emotion? What measures can I put in place to control my reaction?

Don’t allow the emotional brain to manage and control you. Focus on being more self-aware and learn to self-manage and use the space to process your response. In this awareness you will find a happy balance of emotion and rational thinking.