Empowerment

Empowerment is a valuable tool if used effectively, to enable those around you to be able to make decisions, take the initiative and feel valued. Empowerment is especially useful as a managerial skill, to empower colleagues, allowing them to take ownership of their own work and to have a certain feeling of having power, albeit limited. A manager can then prioritise his own work, safe in the knowledge that his team of staff are working towards a common goal, as a team.

Empowerment starts early in life, when our parents have seen that we have learnt by experience, we can be empowered to start decision making, whilst adhering to boundaries of action and movement. Gradually we are given more freedom to be responsible for our actions and the world opens up to us with opportunities.

Early experienced of being controlled or overprotected shape our adult ideas about boundaries that may not exist, and we may find we make excuses for not doing activities as we are fearful of the result. Lack of empowerment can have a negative effect on our feelings of capability.

However once we understand why we act the way we do, and that early conditioning has shaped us in certain ways, we have the ability to change.

Empowerment is most often seen in the workplace. Instead of a manager having to oversee every piece of work his workers do, he can trust them.

Empowerment requires an organization to work in an open honest environment, informing workers about regular developments, opportunities and threats as well as making sure employees are well aware of the company’s main aims and vision.

Involving everyone on major changes such as office moves, Christmas parties helps people feel involved and valued, knowing that their contribution matters. This also enables workers to feel that management respect their humble opinions and value their skills and experience.

If managers are sufficiently trained on how to empower staff the circle widens, with all workers feeling that making decisions when empowered will not cause them any negative impact, and will simply be used to learn from.

In the event of a crisis, an empowered person can take charge, knowing that they are taking the right actions to help the situation.

Empowerment includes feeling involved, having sufficient knowledge and experience, feeling like part of a team and understanding that your actions would impact on others, and most importantly self esteem, knowing that you are valued by your manager or peers.

Unfortunately empowerment can be hampered by a boss who is indecisive and cannot allow workers to take own initiative. A boss who lacks trust in his workers and needs to micro manage them will not be able to empower them. Any undermining of power and authority will also have a negative impact on feelings of being valued and respected, decreasing the likelihood of having a motivated team.

An empowered boss in a small company can make the difference between the company increasing in success in the marketplace. Allowing workers to make their own decisions in a trusting supportive open environment, can give the boss the time to be pushing the business forwards and taking it to the next level.

Image reproduced from ivyleaguedandunemployed,org

How to Manage Annoying Colleagues

Mariam Noronha, an experienced Management Educator, has some helpful advice on how to manage annoying colleagues. Read her top tips below which will help those seeking better working relationships with their co-workers.

One of the many reasons why we get stressed out at work and sometimes even resist going to work is because we encounter some annoying colleagues. Such people trigger off negative emotions and make us feel restless and compelled to react.

Working around people who annoy and irritate you can only sap your energy often leaving you seething and upset. While we cannot eliminate such people from our fold, we can try and manage them. Here are 6 tips to help you manage annoying colleagues…

Change Your Focus

Whenever something upsets you, try and shift your focus by thinking about something positive. If you cannot entirely avoid an annoying person at work, try not to focus on them. Instead think of someone you like and admire. Just thinking about a friend or a happy incident might help you shift your focus and lift your mood.

Remember, it takes all sorts to make this world and it is when we come across irritants that we realize the value of our well wishers and loved ones.

Try Talking it Out

Sometimes the other person is not going all out to irritate you or may not even realize the effect they are having on you. Try talking about their annoying habits or traits to them in private and when they are in an open frame of mind. Many a time approaching people when they are in an amiable mood to discuss irritants arising out of their actions is the right thing to do.

However, such a move is not without the dangers of it backfiring or turning that person off even more. So apply this method only if you are willing to take that risk.

Get Them on Your Side

One of the best ways to deal with people who annoy you is to try and get them on your side. This is easier said than done though but it is possible if you try and figure out what the other person is really looking for. If you can demonstrate that you will be able to help them get what they want or how you can help them achieve their goals they might just be willing to get on your side instead of working against you.

Acceptance is the Key

A friend of mine recently read a book which classified people in to personality types based on natural elements. She shared a number of interesting facts and valuable insights but the best thing she said was, “Each one of us does what we do because it comes to us naturally. Beating yourself up about why so and so did this or that is only detrimental to your wellbeing. Accept people as they are and look at the bigger picture.”

This is what I would say might help us deal with annoying colleagues, acceptance of the fact that this person is only doing what he or she does anyways. Why am I letting it ruin my day or peace of mind?

Don’t Allow Control

The moment we let other people determine how we feel it is all about handing over control of our minds to someone else. You won’t hand over your car keys to someone who is a bad driver and let them damage your car, will you?

Then don’t allow an annoying colleague or a bully at work to control how you think, feel and respond to a situation. Start with yourself, feel good about yourself and what you can do, the rest will fall in to place slowly but surely.

Don’t get Angry, Get Tough

Annoying colleagues trigger off a number of negative emotions, anger being a predominant one. Anger burns you and does more damage to you than anyone else could do to you. Instead of getting angry get tough; decide that you will not let anyone else’s behaviour adversely affect you.

Adopt a “no nonsense” approach so other people get the message about what is acceptable and what is isn’t. A steely resolve that you will get through the day without letting other people control your temper is what you need.

Image reproduced from medixstaffingsolutions.blogspot.com

Pomegranates: Advice for Overwhelming Situations

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about dealing with overwhelming situations. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

A good friend of mine often asks me to retell this story as he says it has helped develop the way he handles situations. I therefore have included it below, but before I start I should explain this friend is an INTJ, also known as a strategist or more commonly a fixer.

To be a good fixer you have to think clinically. Emotions can be messy. Medics have it easy, they can tuck those pesky feelings neatly away and step into a clean sterile room where the procedure is simple. Cut, suture, and close. If you are lucky you haven’t accidentally left a towel in there and the problem is fixed.

But sometimes you’re faced with a problem that isn’t just medical but one that involves emotions, like a fresh cut that rips its stitches wide open – that’s when I believe the tale of pomegranates comes into effect.

Whatever your type the following information is invaluable to a balanced life, I hope you enjoy the tale and pass it on.

A wise man once told me a story he read in a book involving a junior doctor and his mentor.  It originates from advice passed down through the generations, unfortunately proper attribution cannot be given as I was not told the name of the book, but I thank the originator of this tale.

So, one fine morning…

The junior doc peered into the waiting room and called his first patient of the day. It was an easy case as his mentor had already told him the cure was pomegranates. On examination the junior doc was relieved that there were no hidden traps. He confidently told his patient that he had a liver infection and that the cure was a simple dose of pomegranates. To his dismay, the patient yelled, told him he was incompetent and stormed out of the surgery, leaving a dumfounded student questioning his mentor.

As luck would have it, there was another patient in the surgery, that too with the exact same infliction so the mentor took the opportunity to teach how it should be done. He called the patient into his office, carried out the exact same tests then calmly sat back and thought quietly. After a few minutes he hesitated then said “you need something, red, fleshy”…he paused momentarily “hmmmmm something high in anti-oxidants and a good water content” he paused again then blurted out “pomegranates, you need pomegranates” as if he had just solved the mystery of the Turin shrowd. The patient got up, hugged the doctor, thanked him and walked out of the office with a spring in his step.

The junior doc was dismayed as he had given the exact same remedy until his mentor explained that what both patients needed was pomegranates and TIME!

In this modern world what so many of us forget is that the human psyche needs time to digest and reacclimatise to information. Sometimes what we don’t do is every bit as powerful as that which we do do.

I think of this story often when advising my clients. In this modern day world we are so rarely given time to think, breathe, cope, strategise, improve, figure out, etc… An ENTJ like myself and an INTJ, the person who requested I publish an article on this topic often need to be reminded of pomegranates. Maybe you do too?

Many other types especially go getters need to be reminded to slow down and that fixing situations although useful sometimes need a dash of TIME. So, if someone in your life needs a situational awareness check, send them this article and then yell “pomegranates”, you will be amazed at how useful it is. Even more useful, tell yourself “pomegranates” too, because in those moments where we all push too hard, taking a step back accompanied by a deep breathe often allows the fog to clear and provides us with the courage to move forward.

Image reproduced from www.myplantwhiz.com

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 4

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

We are now in Part 4 of the Overcoming Procrastination series and some of you might have even booked that summer holiday or beach break and have made a promise to yourself that you will lose weight to fit into your bikini or swimming trunks before your plane takes off. However have you found that the diet is either hard to stick to or, as like with all types of procrastination, that it keeps getting put off perhaps to the start of the week after your friend’s birthday, after that weekend barbecue, the list seems never-ending. This type of procrastination is tantamount to New Year’s resolutions. It’s the type of promise you make yourself yet there is no guilt if you give it up within hours or days of the original idea. This is normally because there has been no strong commitment and / or action plan thought out and therefore it is easier to procrastinate. This type of procrastination is often referred to as Promissory Procrastination.

This procrastination is seen more in less detail orientated people so for example NFs (the big picture feelers) are the most likely to be so caught up in the big picture of being thinner and fitting into the bikini that they have not thought each step through. STs are less likely to fall into this trap however although they have an action plan they sometimes lack the willpower and determination to get there as they have less visualisation on the long-term goal.

Therefore to conquer Promissory Procrastination not only do we need to have a clear vision / wish but also an action plan detailing the hows, whys whens and wheres. To do this we need to take the “Feelers” temporarily into a thinking zone and get the “Sensors” to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Every personality type can find a path taking small steps to completing their new goal, be it controlling their eating habits, enlarging their social circle, volunteering their time in the community, taking up a new hobby or satisfying the basic need of significance.

If you want to keep the promises that you make to yourself, follow the bullet points below to help you on your way:-

  1. Decide out of all the Promissory Procrastination goals you’ve made which is the first you want to deal with.
  2. List all the activities you do to avoid keeping to your goal.
  3. List the reasons you use to justify the delay.
  4. Look at each reason in turn and decide if there is more pleasure in the activity or justification you use to avoid attaining your goal.
  5. Write a list of all the positives about reaching your goal.
  6. List the actions you would have to take to make it more pleasurable to reach your goal than procrastinating, justifying and avoiding the challenge.
  7. Ask yourself whether the change you are trying to make is meaningful enough to you personally to want to spend the time and effort of going through all the stages in step 6. If it is, put step 6’s list into action one small step at a time. If it isn’t, understand why this didn’t work for you, let go of the goal and move on without guilt.
  8. Repeat this process for all Promissory Procrastination challenges – do make sure you only take on one at a time. Although some challenges can be worked on in conjunction with each other, do not try to overload yourself as this is commonly a set-up for failure.

 

Unlike Promissory Procrastination where we often set resolutions and goals without thinking the steps through, the next type of procrastination I will be talking about is where both the wish and the plan are present but it’s like watching helicopter blades starting to cycle but never fast enough to allow it to lift off the ground. This type of procrastination is called Behavioural Procrastination and it is very common in N types, because such procrastinators can have outstanding visions which come from their big picture thinking and can even be organised but what they lack is motivation and follow through.

You will often see this type of procrastination in people who try to start their own businesses who have fantastic ideas but still don’t manage to sell their product or in employees who accumulate case files that are close to being finished but never quite ready for presentation. It also happens in S types, for example the eternal student who keeps re-writing their thesis justifying the need for change on the small level but never finishing the project to hand it in. For these types of people, the planning and the detail is fun but the execution, production and completion is either frustrating or feels out of their reach.

If you identify with Behavioural Procrastination and you would like to redefine yourself as someone who follows through to the end of a project, follow the steps below:-

  1. Define your most pressing Behavioural Procrastination and give a list of reasons why you want to be able to complete your project.
  2. Take each reason and attach as many pleasurable images in your mind to completing the project.
  3. List all the details you concentrate on to avoid completing the project.
  4. Ask yourself how many of these details are absolutely necessary for the completion of your project and list how many are actually hindering completion.
  5. Ask yourself what you tell yourself to justify the delay.
  6. Ask yourself how that makes you look to yourself and others.
  7. Find out if there is more pain attached to handing something in that’s not ‘perfect’ than making people wait.
  8. Address why this is.
  9. Ask yourself what you would need to change to understand that projects need to be finished to completion and that the details should not be all-consuming.
  10. List all the actions you can take to make sure you complete each stage of your plan without getting overloaded in excuses and justifications.
  11. Take each step in turn.
  12. When you have completed the challenge return to step 1 and choose your next procrastination to deal with.

Following through to the end of your projects not only makes you more productive but helps you lead a life with integrity when you start being your word whether that’s executing a document, building up your own business or handing work in on time. Others will treat you with respect and in the long-term this will create even more of an advantage to you.

In the next instalment of Overcoming Procrastination series we will be discussing how once you have kicked the procrastination habit it is easy to get into a cycle of procrastination then action then procrastination which is a slippery slope and often referred to as Fallback Pattern Procrastination. We will also be addressing Lateness Procrastination which is just as disrespectful to yourself as it is to others.

Images reproduced from heartsandminds.org and slicesoflife.org

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 3

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

As we discussed in Part 2, there are many different types of procrastination patterns and although we do not believe that humans can be labelled we have, for ease, labelled the patterns to help you understand how they work and how we can work together to benefit you.

For those of you who identified that Social Procrastination was an aspect of your behaviour that you wish to change, a good starting point is to analyse whether you have a fear of saying no when it comes to doing a task an acquaintance / friend / work colleague has asked you to do. For those of you who come under the typology category “SF”, you have a greater want to be liked by your peers however this is not limited to just SF personalities. Either way, until you realise that the request is discretionary and learn to say no if you really don’t want to do the favour then it will be inevitable that your delays will occur impacting your social interactions and attracting that which you feared the most – i.e. the disapproval of others. As for impersonal delays such as the late payment of tax bills, overdue library books or RSVPs to invitations, you are again placing yourself between a perpetual tug of war between punctuality and postponement. In addition those of you who socially procrastinate within groups often do so due to concern that your input won’t favourable compare to the others in the group.

For all these social procrastination patterns one needs to escape from the habitual trap, accept responsibilities and act on them showing a sign of maturity and realising that by combating delay you are actually avoiding the disapproval of friends, the fines from the tax office or library, the cold shoulder or lack of invitations for showing up late or not at all, and you show yourself that you are in charge of your emotions and rather than fixating on the small picture, are playing a longer term game resulting in achievement, high accolades and advancement.

To aid you get a grasp on your Social Procrastination, I would like you to take a few minutes to write in your journal about the challenges you find in this area and define a positive and uplifting avenue for change.

  1. Write down you most pressing Social Procrastination challenge.
  2. Name the catalysts you use to avoid completing the challenge.
  3. List the excuses you tell yourself and others to justify not meeting the challenge.
  4. List all the actions you are prepared to take to follow through and meet the next challenge coming your way.

Unlike Social Procrastination, Personal Procrastination occurs when you constantly put self improvement tasks low on your priority list which can in turn be detrimental to both your physical and emotional health. Such justifications for this type of procrastination involve low self-importance, an inaccurate and idealised timeline that there is no rush to improve oneself which inevitably shows that your sense of responsibility towards yourself is heavily diminished. Often clients are resistant to emotional change  due to time constraints or not wanting to delve into the past. It is in this area that much resistance is often noted as some challenges can be both uncomfortable and painful. However by taking the leap to break these fears of emotional insecurities, one can progressively master any type of Personal Procrastination and enhance any self-development and grow in ways you cannot even imagine. As with any procrastination problem the challenge is to start sooner rather than later. I have devised a few questions below for you to work through to get you started to vanquishing the fear and moving that step closer to a life that you will love.

  1. What is your most pressing Personal Procrastination challenge?
  2. What are the consequences for not carrying out the challenge?
  3. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  4. How do you limit yourself in your abilities to progress and what are you losing?
  5. What do you tell yourself to justify not completing the challenge?What are your fears?
  6. What actions will you take today to feel more in charge of your life and gain the benefits of finally meeting the challenge?

In addition to these procrastination patterns there are also a group of Mild Impact Procrastinations. These are important to some people but appear lower on your priority list than they should and more often than not get put off until the next day and so on until they never get done. Such activities seem to be small matters and invariably you will take a calculated risk that they won’t affect you in the long run – often justifying that they will be a waste of time spent on the little things that you think can be done later. Unfortunately it is these little things that can blow up into larger challenges and such accumulations can leaving overwhelmed as they now will all have to be done all at once. To stop Mild Impact Procrastination before it starts a little organisation is needed especially for routine activities. If your personality type is not one to already be making lists it may be a useful activity to introduce this into your routine. Listing each mildly important activity, giving it a due date, allowing you to enjoy ticking them off as they are completed. Each tick that you produce not only shows that you’ve accomplished the activity without undue delay but reinforces that you are kicking your Procrastination habit to the curb and allows you to recognise that taking charge of these smaller aspects of your life will have a major impact on the running of your life as a whole. Again below, I have added a quick exercise for your journal to help you effectively deal with Mild Impact Procrastination which should enviable free up some brain space to more important matters such as Personal or social Procrastination matters.

  1. What is the most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge?
  2. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  3. List all the activities that you need to do regularly but delay.
  4. Write beside these activities a one word answer to justify the delay.
  5. What action will you take to follow through meeting your most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge mentioned in 1?
  6. What actions are you going to take to combat your justifications for delaying the list of activities mentioned in 3.

I hope you take this time to promise yourself that procrastination is worth beating and to acknowledge that you have all the capabilities inside you to rise to the challenge and bring about a change for the better today.

I look forward to working with you in Part 4.

Images reproduced from epicponyz.com and associatedforensic.com

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 2

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Procrastination is an often talked about problem, however the media often trivialise it using it as the butt of many jokes be it in sitcoms, films, talk shows or stand-up comedy. Although entertaining in the moment and often providing comic relief, it does not provide a solution. Unfortunately, such a solution does involve battling your inner demons and we all know this to be unpleasant however the improvement and success you will achieve will hopefully replace any temporary negative concepts you will have to address on the way.

More often than not the biggest negative contender that comes up in my seminars is blame. I stress to my clients and emphasise this here that this series takes a non-blaming view towards the triggers of your procrastination and focuses mainly on areas for positive improvement and advancement. However as we live in a blame ridden society you may have found yourself procrastinating to either avoid or defend social norms or personal standards where “blame culture” is rife. It is a global norm to spend the majority of  our spare time blaming others, blaming ourselves or looking for someone to blame. Blame is in many countries linked to performance which makes up social values and is often is extrapolated to personal worth. The reason this series does not focus on blame is that, whether internalising or externalising blame, such negativity only hinders our self growth distracting ourselves from spending the time more usefully on improving the situation in front of us and taking responsibility for the remedy which is unrelated to the cause or mistake of that situation. In addition, the “blame culture” we often find ourselves in leads us to create justifications which are nothing more than self deceptions that our subconscious uses to avoid the acceptance of personal responsibility. It has no bearing on solving legitimate problems and only allows us to re-focus our energies on small irrelevant details rather than looking at the big picture.

In addition, the use of the word blame seems synonymous with other negative terms such as lazy, careless, stupid and indolent which only puts up our defence barriers which again hinders rather than fixes the problem. In this article we concentrate on using our brain to reason why we procrastinate making sense of our triggers allowing us to positively alter our brain patterns and reactions resulting in a better solution.

For those of you interested in the science behind the theory, your pre-frontal cortex is responsible for the reasoning aspect of your personality. It is here that you override the brain’s defence mechanisms setting off a protective element to avoid discomfort, hurt or upset. Such an element can be in the form of procrastination.

Below I have highlighted some of the more common procrastination patterns so that you can identify which areas of your life you would like to work on to overcome your brain’s diversion tactics to discomfort.

  • Behavioural Procrastination – having great ideas and plans that never get off the ground and/or a to-do list that never gets quite finished.
  • Deadline Procrastination – often receiving final reminders for your bills or only just making deadlines set by your boss.
  • Decision-making Procrastination – constantly second guessing yourself, deferring making decisions and/or having trouble making the simplest of choices even down to a restaurant menu.
  • Habitual Procrastination – you mean well yet time just seems to pass you by and deadlines arrive before you even realise it.
  • Health Procrastination – not attending the gym even though you’ve paid for membership or feeling overly stress yet not taking time out to relax.
  • Hinderance Procrastination – making people wait in a passive aggressive way or delaying them or yourself.
  • Lateness Procrastination– showing up late for appointments and lacking the ability to be on time even if you want to be.
  • Organisational Procrastination – finding it hard to write down clear, measurable and achievable goals, lacking in plans and living in clutter.
  • Personal Procrastination – knowing you have bad habits but never getting round to breaking them, delaying facing up to problems and having the feeling that you are drifting through life.
  • Social Procrastination – delaying others with a lack of commitment to being your word, inconveniencing others by causing delay, expecting people to accommodate you when you’re late.
  • General Procrastination – you are unable to fulfill your responsibilities, you waste too much time, often under-delivering, do not stick to your priorities, start assignments at the last minute, find ways to extend deadlines, put things off that you’re not passionate about and rarely seem to get things done on time.

Reading the above procrastination patterns, work out which ones strike a chord with you and note them down for later on in our series where I will give you coping strategies for each type of behavioural pattern.

I will also look at the catalysts for the above procrastination patterns which include avoidance, fear of failure, mood, perfectionism, diversion tactics, discomfort aversion, self doubts, low self-esteem, overwhelming information, time management and readiness to change.

After reading this article I would like you to write down your top three procrastination patterns and the catalysts that you feel drive you towards avoiding responsibility. Throughout the series you will become familiar with procrastination forms and styles and the more you learn about these patterns the easier it will be for you to reprogram your habitual responses to your catalysts turning what you previously viewed as procrastination into efficiency.

I look forward to working with you to overcoming your procrastination.

Images reproduced from sherrymalcolm.com and zazzle.ca

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 1

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Procrastination affects us all – it is not only the stack of unopened mail, the size 8 garments hanging in your wardrobe when you’re now a size 12, that phone call you dread but know you should make or that deadline imposed on you by your boss that is creeping up on you; but more often than not procrastination involves beneficial or exciting activities that have slipped down your list of priorities. Such activities include going to the gym more, combating a phobia, taking up a new sport or hobby, meeting up with old friends, or even a pamper day with just you time.

It may help you to know that 9 in 10 people procrastinate in at least one area of their life and research from the late 90s shows that as much as 20% of successful business people still squander away their time procrastinating and an enormous 60% of university students do the same.

I have written this series to help diminish your procrastination impulses allowing you to take charge of your life furthering your achievement of everything you not only desire but deserve as well. Procrastination can affect all ages from all walks of life however the coping strategies that I have set out throughout the series will not only educate you but provide you with options and choices in assisting you to minimise if not eradicate the effect that procrastination has on your life.

Please make sure you follow the exercises in this series in the order they are presented, practice each technique until it becomes routine and then, and only then, begin on the next.

Procrastination simply means to put off something until tomorrow, it comes from the Latin pro meaning forward and crastinate which means tomorrow; however for most of us tomorrow never comes and we spend our lives needlessly postponing, delaying and avoiding that which we should have done today. Procrastination itself is comprised of two components – the first part is an impulse to delay normally governed by mood or anxiety and the second part comes from your inner critic which reassures you that your reasoning for delay is acceptable. Therefore one can look at procrastination as having both an active and passive phase, however these phases in themselves often take more brain power and time than if we had carried out the original activity. This in turn makes us operate ineffectively which for some people can result in negative consequences.

You may have heard that the best solution to overcome procrastination is to simply jump in with both feet and action the task now. More often than not this is simple to say but much harder to do. Such advice is rarely sufficient in breaking the procrastination habit because of its many complex features. The first and best step to overcoming procrastination is acceptance that you have a problem and a positive intention to establish control over such. To assist you in the first step towards breaking your procrastination habit follow this 6-step process as bullet pointed below.

  • Stop and take stock of the Big Picture goal then break the task ahead into baby steps and action only the very first goal
  • Resist the urge to deviate from the list of steps that you created in step 1 and re-affirm that you are committed to completing the task
  • Reflect on those inner voices creating excuses and justifications to not complete the task and accept that your subconscious is trying to help you but again re-affirm your commitment to carrying out the task.
  • Use logic and reasoning to understand that the justifications and excuses in step 3 or just a delay tactic and counteract this with three positive statements about why you need to finish the task and how it will feel to have stuck by your word.
  • Review the baby steps needed to complete your task and once you have completed the first one set the rest in motion.
  • Reward yourself by completing any procrastination tactic only when you have completed all steps of your original task.

Through these self-regulating actions you will train yourself to overcome procrastination. Do not be too hard on yourself as even with this technique improvements of 10% each time you employ the technique means that you are well on your way to progressive mastery over procrastination.

In the meantime, for those procrastination moments that you have yet to get a handle on, it would be useful for you to diarise in a journal what they are so that we can analyse them later during this series. The questions to ask yourself in the journal are:

  • What activity have I put off?
  • Why have I delayed this activity?
  • What was my feeling during the delay?
  • What were my thoughts when I first put off my task?
  • What were my justifications after I entered the cycle of procrastination?
  • What was my outcome?

These journal exercises have been used by thousands of clients and although time-consuming are a surprisingly effective way to pattern interrupt the automatic procrastination processes thus enabling you a better understanding of why you do what you do and the triggers behind it.

The overall objective from this exercise is to move away from subjective action and see beyond your automatic processes and allow you with the aid from information gathering exercises later in the series to create an action plan finally curbing your procrastination.

It is really important during these exercises not to be too hard on yourself, often procrastinators are either highly sensitive people or often put in situations where they are blamed. Such environments put people in positions where they self-label themselves “stupid”, “slow” or “less than” which only increases negative feelings such as humiliation and low self-esteem.

Do make sure that you re-affirm to yourself while following this series that procrastination is no more than a habit, it is not something that you intentionally created, it took hold gradually over time and likewise takes time and effort to reverse. You are not alone in being a procrastinator however you are already on your first step to overcoming this challenging part of your life.

Before we finish this article, I’d like you to write out three action steps that you can take now to help you on your way, whether that is buying a journal, becoming more aware of your feelings and thoughts, taking half an hour out once a week to follow the series or listing the reasons that cause you to procrastinate.

I look forward to working with you throughout this series.

Images reproduced from edwardrecommends.com, deviantart.com and fromseremban2melaka.blogspot.com

Sport Psychology – All Achievement Begins With a Thought…

London Life Coach & Sports Performance Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about achievement and sport psychology. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website www.sloansw.com

I love the variety in my job and the fact that although I spend 75% of my time dealing with clinical issues and life coaching, I am also stretched to develop coaching talents in new areas. I have been working in Sports Psychology for a number of years now, triggered by my love of rowing and tennis which both tend to get a tad competitive. With the Olympics 2012 coming up, the demand for Sports Psychology has dramatically increased enabling me to work with some fabulous individuals in this arena.

A psychological approach to sport has often been dismissed because before there was evidence to the contrary many people found it hard to believe that the way a person thinks can have bearing on the performance in sport.  I am a definite advocate for mind power which is best explained by the fact that we first have to think of success before we can manifest success.

All achievement begins with a thought and being able to adapt this to our will enables us to achieve that which we did not think possible. This type of positive thinking that turns into positive doing is also referred to as success consciousness –  a state of mind in which you cannot see yourself as anything but a success. It is a way of ignoring negative thoughts and eventually not having them so you focus on what you can and will achieve.

The principles of success consciousness include:-

  • Creating I CAN awareness – i.e. anything accomplished by another can be accomplished by you
  • Creating I WILL attitude – beating procrastination and being enthusiastic about reaching one’s goal
  • Having a definite objective
  • Developing a do-it-now attitude

Many people never utilise the potential strength within their own personalities. With every physical training program one should incorporate a mind training program. This is where I and other Sports Psychologists come in.  The brain needs to be exercised as much as muscles do otherwise it too can atrophy.  As muscles respond to exercise more quickly when one is relaxed, there is now more advocacy for mental training and the fact that it should include positivity and relaxation, which is where my hypnosis and visualisation training takes effect.

The issue most psychologist focus on is that when the mind is worried or tense it slows down and retards constructive thought.  It inhibits one’s control of the mind and thereby allows you to become mentally subservient to doubts and obstacles taking you further away from your goal of success. We all know how easy it is to concentrate on failures, fears and pressures and lose sight of your goal. However too much confidence is also a trap, for example a single victory should not be seen as proof that you have totally eliminated your negative thinking. Just as one needs a coach for training, a mental sport coach can help you achieve the balance you need to get the results you desire and deserve.

I am often asked “What can mind power do for me, I am already training 24/7 physically and at the peak of my performance?”.  It is here when I explain to the client that employing the principles of mind power can accomplish the attainment of goals at levels far beyond those considered to be in their capacity. More often than not even top athletes only use a fraction of their potential if they are not engaged in mental training; mind power allows enhancement and unlocking of potential producing outstanding results in performance.

I look forward to writing more about Sport Psychology as I have been asked to produce a series of articles for this category. If you wish to pose a question about your particular sport or an aspect of it then either put a comment below, contact me directly or submit an anonymous question through our Q+A page.

Images reproduced from all-about-psychology.com and workingathomeguide.co.uk

Quotations That May Change Your Way of Living

One of the beauties of life is that everybody has to live their own; your life will not be lived for you by anybody else. Many philosophies exist that people have adopted to guide themselves or get guidance through life. This week City Connect lists some quotations which may stimulate your mind and maybe change the way you look at life. We would like to present you with some famous quotations in order to inspire your thinking. We have also categorised them into the three topics: self motivation, helping others and coping with hard times.

(1) Self motivation and attitude towards oneself

If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right. Henry Ford

The definition of Insanity… Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

It is never too late to be what you might have been. George Elliot

All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow. A happy life is not one filled with only sunshine, but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty. Billy Graham

A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(2) Coping with hard times

All comes at the proper time to him who knows how to wait. St Vincent de Paul

If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again. Flavia Weedn

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Martin Luther King

The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail. Nelson Mandela


(3) Helping others

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. Buddhist saying

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody. Chinese proverb

If a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking him if there’s anything you can do. Think of something appropriate and do it. E.W. Howe

Sometimes fewer words are better than long stories. Whatever philosophy guides your life and works for you, we hope that you have been inspired by some of the people and sayings here to help you improve your way of living for the better. 

Image reproduced from www.bp.blogspot.com, www.apsbookweekblog.edublogs.org and www.tommiele.files.wordpress.com

Learn Your Way to Success

How small businesses make it to big businesses by staying ahead of the game.

I hear every day that SMEs are eliminating all but essential over heads in order to survive our current recessionary climate. Few shrewd business people would disagree with this principal but I often find myself challenging; what are the necessary expenses? Rent, heating, lighting, staff wages, production costs, these ensure that your business exists but will investing only in these business basics ensure that your business succeeds?

Ask any small business owner what their overwhelming business concerns are and they will tell you that making more sales, getting more clients or increasing their profits are their main needs. Customer loyalty, growing revenue, good staff retention these must surely be considered fundamental to an effective and successful business, and they are all areas that require strong planning, good sales expertise and excellent communications systems.

Great quality sales training is the one service that you can invest in that will bring all these benefits to our businesses and yet so often we hear that training budgets have been slashed in response to difficult financial times. In any business this strategy is risky but in the SME sector this is more dangerous than ever.

After the last recession overwhelming evidence demonstrated that those companies who continued to invest in training and development came out of the slump better placed to grow and out-perform their competitors. They had strong, loyal and highly skilled work forces, who were all working together in a disciplined way.

Naturally the revenue produced by sales is the life blood of a business. Whether you have a sales team who are not exceeding expectations, or in fact no real sales team at all it is essential that those people who are responsible for generating profit to your business are well trained.

Sales is a process, it is a series of steps that a prospective client goes through when evaluating your business. A good sales process is made up of a diverse selection of activities and methods, each of which must be properly executed and the whole sales process must be monitored at all times. A really strong business needs a sales strategy, it needs precise sales activities to support this strategy and it needs these activities to be measured and the results evaluated. It is this type of business practice that will really bring results and which cannot be competently executed by a willing amateur. These business practices are what a competent trainer can impart to your staff and which, with constant mentoring and development, will grow into the most powerful tools in your business’ arsenal.

Beyond this, staff who receive training from their employers develop far higher levels of commitment to that company. Most national salary surveys show that business employees in both public and private sectors value good training provision above even remuneration when considering whether to remain loyal to an employer. Training makes staff feel valued, it is a great way of recognising and rewarding their success and thereby increasing their levels of motivation. In the SME environment where large salaries and six figures bonuses cannot be considered retaining staff through other methods should be a key consideration.

A well planned and executed sales process can increase conversion rates by up to 30%.

In order that you draw lots of loyal customers to your business their experience when working with you must be a positive one. From the service they receive from your staff to the way that your business’ systems work. You must not leave their encounter with you to chance. Taking control of the customer’s experience of your business is essential to controlling your eventual profits. This is what good sales training makes possible.

How can I find sales training that really works?
It should always be totally bespoke training, crafted to suit your business, delivered in a way that you are comfortable with. At SOS we will meet with you, on our time, for up to 3 hours, we will talk about your business, its’ needs and what your management style is. We will work out not only what your team specifically need to know but what is going to be the most appropriate way to teach it to them. Then, taking into account the specifics of the individuals who will be learning as well as the goals of the business we will write tailor made training content that delivers that message. We check our results with great follow up that focuses on ensuring that actions are being put into real use in the workplace. We will even provide reports on the outcome of the training on each individual. In short the training is written for your business, about your business and we take responsibility for making sure it works.

About the Guest Author
Karen Dunne-Squire is the MD of Select Outsourcing Solutions Ltd. They provide sales expertise to small businesses with a large focus on training and mentoring. Karen has worked within front line sales and senior level sales management for the last 14 years and has a reputation for developing high performing teams. Karen believes that good sales training is the bedrock of any business.

Image courtesy of Select Outsourcing Solutions