acceptance aftercare advice beliefs communication expectations goal setting golf influences on communication mind set perception presentation skills public speaking Routines self awareness self confidence time traditions values
I have recently finished reading “The Moment” a very compelling book by Douglas Kennedy, where he challenges the reader to consider a “moment”, or indeed moments, in their lives that changes everything, whether for good or bad. It is these moments that impact on who we become and how we live our lives and this made me reflect on some of the moments in my life that had a major impact on the path I now take.
From the moment I started school to leaving it, to deciding which University to attend and degree to follow, to a successful interview for a graduate job that I only lasted 6 months in as it was not the job for me, a decision to then complete a Teacher Training course and then the moment I saw an advert that said “Fly FREE to Australia and teach.”
What if I had never seen that advert and decided to seize that moment? I already had another post lined up in London, so if I had gone there, where would I be now and what would I be doing? Would I have met my husband, another “moment” that changed my life, had children and even be sitting at this laptop writing this blog, while hearing the rain lashing against my window?
One thing is for sure that there are many, many moments in our lives and all influence the future in some way or another. I believe the trick is to embrace them, learn from them whether they are good or bad moments -and we have all had our share of both. They are what makes us who we are and if we want to continually grow and develop, we need to recognise these moments, realise we chose what to do based on the circumstances at the time and not regret any decisions made. Failure to make the right decision has its consequences but if we regret the decision we make this continues to cloud our thoughts and affect our judgement.
Martin Luther King said that “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Seize the moments, be aware of the consequences of the choices you have and accept the decisions you make. It may prove to have been the wrong one but we will only find that out in the future and whatever happens, we will grow in knowledge and experience, helping us deal with the next “moment” and the next and the next and the ………….
Last week I was running a workshop for PSYBT on listening and questioning skills after our Quarterly Aftercare Advisors Meeting. One of the main points of discussion was how to convince clients to, for example, “keep up with the paperwork, accounts etc” These, as we well know, are very important to the success of any business, however, all too often it is not of importance, nor of interest to the client – they want to do what they like doing be it making jewellery, being a plumber or whatever.
How can we convince people to take our “advice” on board?
Well this is where good questioning technique is essential, as we have to find out what the individual values and gets most satisfaction from. We then need to ask pertinent questions for them to discover for themselves the relevance of the activity, why they need to carry it out and what is a realitic goal. This will be linked to what they value and want to achieve – which may not necessarily be the same as our own.
We had a really good discussion about this and then, a few days later, I found myself in a coaching session when I really had to put into practice those exact principles we had been discussing. Setting realistic goals is not easy for anyone and if an individual is unsure of what they want or may feel they cannot achieve it, it is imperative that questions are used to allow that individual to discover for themselves what is realistic and how they can achieve it by using the many resources available.
A useful model is the GROW model ref: “Coaching for Performance” by John Whitmore. The premise is to generate “awareness and responsibility” by using a series of questions to investigate the following:
G = goals i.e. What we want to achieve
R = reality i.e. What is happening now
O = options i.e. What we could do
W = will i.e. What we will do
So think of a goal you want, ask yourself these questions and even at a basic level there will be a greater awareness and commitment to achieving it. Good luck!
How often are we truly aware of our own “comfort zones” and the impact they have on us? While I was running a course on Presentation Skills last week, this was clearly demonstrated.
One of the delegates, there to refresh his skills, slowly became aware of the fact that he felt “lost”, “unsure” and was becoming hesitant, with lots of “ehs” creeping into the mini talks that he were doing. And what was the reason for this? Well, it finally dawned on him that it was because he did not have any slides on the screen behind him.
After discussing this issue he realised that his numerous slides were there more for comfort than necessity. They were giving him confidence rather than him believing in his own ability and using them to help focus his audience. We then used a visualisation technique to anchor the good behaviours he does have when the slides are there and lo and behold his flow and confidence returned.
Whatever comfort zones we unconsciously establish need to be identified and then tested. Without that important awareness and testing, we will become less willing to try new and interesting things, preferring the status quo. This in turn could affect our motivation since we need energy and enthusiasm to take up new challenges – I am soon to be embarking on a painting course which will really take me out of my comfort zone, as I was told at the age of 14yrs definitely NOT to chose Art as a subject.
Yes, we are creatures of habit and habits can be very comforting however, beware the habit that has become an unconscious crutch. We need to be more aware of our regular routines and decide whether the withdrawal of any would affect our confidence and or motivation. Get checking!
I have seen evidence this past week of people, who are very capable, feel less than certain of their ability to deal with certain situations e.g. networking, persuading others to listen. So what is it that causes us to start doubting ourselves?
The key here is that we have to differentiate between feeling “helpless” and feeling “vulnerable” and I spend a considerable amount of time discussing the distinction with those I come into contact with, from training course delegates, clients through my volunteer work with PSYBT or indeed family and friends.
Imagine you are alone and driving along a country road in the dark. Your car suddenly stops so after a few choice words you no doubt get out , open up the bonnet and have a look – not that I would know what to look for! Maybe, with your fingers crossed, you try to start it again and then you realise you are “helpless” to make it go but, “no worries”, you have your mobile and can summon help.
But what happens when you find there is no signal and no friendly house with a light on nearby? Your feelings start to change and now you begin to be concerned and feel “vulnerable”. You start wondering about your safety. What if someone comes along, should you get out and ask for help or stay inside the car as the Police suggest?
And that is the difference! We may feel helpless in certain situations when we do not have the appropriate knowledge or skills but even then, it is people and their possible behaviour who often make us feel vulnerable. We can go into meetings and put across our opinions confidently but if there is someone there who has, or does, undermine our confidence, we start doubting ourselves. Nothing has changed so how can we address the situation? Remember we cannot control other people’s behaviour but we can control ours which will help us cope with any vulnerable feelings!
This is easier said than done but we need to be aware of the buttons people press to make us doubt ourselves, take control and accept we are not perfect! Look for facts and evidence from the past and believe! Yes, we might feel helpless but it’s a lot better than feeling vulnerable.