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Stop Procrastinating and take Control - The 15-Minute Rule

A client I am coaching at the moment keeps bringing the agenda of procrastination to the coaching sessions.  When exploring this further we looked at what was going on underneath the procrastinating behaviour?  It turned out, that the procrastination had a direct link to motivation, confidence and fear of confrontation.   So how can this be overcome?

The 15-Minute Rule

Caroline Buchanan (author and journalist) has written a book called the 15-Minute Rule to help anyone that finds themselves procrastinating. She describes it "as a lifestyle tool that can work for anyone".  When I started to reflect on my own habits I soon realised that there are tasks in my life that I can put off until they become critical.  

I realised today that procrastination plagues us all to varying degrees and certainly has plagued me over the years....,

An example of this played out in my life today.  I have been coaching for over 15 years but up until this year I had yet to submit my hours and complete my coaching assessment for my ICF credentials.  I made up many excuses and the one that I actually believed was that I didn't feel it stopped me getting work by not having it!  

To some extent this has been true and I also felt that some of the best coaches I know don't have the credentials.  However I also knew that at the back of my mind there was a slight fear that I might fail my assessment.  So I put this off for years!  My deadline for completion of the assessment was 6th May 2017, and this morning after reading the first part of this book I set aside 3 hours in my day to complete 155 online questions about coaching competencies.  I split the 3 hours into 15 minute segments and I just started.  I am pleased to say that it worked and I have just received my results.  I achieved 81% (the pass is 70%).  I now feel proud and motivated to continue with the next stage of my development.  So sometimes we need a strategy to overcome our fears and just do it.

What is the 15-Minute Rule

The 15-Minute Rule is made up of six stages that will help you with whatever you wish to achieve.

  1. Be Inspired - make sure that "whatever you do, or dream you can do begin it" - Goethe
  2. Visualize - what will it feel like when you have achieved your goal?
  3. Plan - if you haven't started already, pick a time to begin.  How about now?
  4. Prepare - it's all in the preparation.  
  5. The 15-Minute Rule - pick your chosen task, set your watch and start timing.
  6. Reward Yourself and celebrate your victories large or small.

I would recommend Caroline Buchanan's The 15 Minute Rule - it is a great and easy read and if followed will stop procrastination and help you take control. 

Goal Direction is one aspect of Emotional Intelligence.  This book will certainly help you more towards your goals in a balanced manner.

 

 

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Are you Surviving or Thriving? What are your emotions telling you?

This year Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 8-14 May on the theme of surviving or thriving, and I am delighted to have been asked to talk on the topic of Emotional Resilience for a client.

My story

18 years ago my life changed.  I was admitted to a well known West London hospital!  It was March 8th 1999 and I was merely surviving - emotionally and physically. Outwardly I had a successful career, was on a fast-track programme, had a great social life in London and I was about to get married.  Nobody would have known that I wasn't thriving (apart from a few close friends) and I certainly didn't see the warning signs that led me to burnout.  My employers at the time were amazing and gave me timeout to help me recover.  I spent over a month in hospital before returning to the workplace.  I am still friends with the HR Director who supported me on that journey (you know who you are).  I am very grateful that I had such a positive experience when I confided in her and the MD of the business.  Whilst they were surprised they supported me whole heartedly and gave me the time I needed to get well. 

I have never shared my story publicly probably through fear of being judged by others - although I often share with clients or on an individual basis.  Ironically though I know that the more vulnerable I am, the greater connection and support I have from others and the more others connect with me.  It gives others permission to be honest.  The work I do around resilience today has been shaped by my past experiences.  So why wouldn't I share this - by not sharing I am just aligning myself with the stigma that already exists around Mental Health.  The more we share about it, the less of a stigma it becomes.  We learn from each other and teach each other.  Connecting with others is one aspect of resilience and has been such a fundamental part of my own journey.  

So what is resilience?

Resilience is about an individual’s capacity to effectively manage their energy, bounce back from stressful situations and adapt positively to adversity, pressure and change.  A person’s resilience will be shaped by their beliefs, values, experiences and environment.  We face challenges and get knocked back all the time; it’s how you let it affect you and how you deal with it that matters.  Resilience is a process that can be developed through life - for myself Emotional Resilience has been about learning to live with uncomfortable emotions - the positive and negative ones.  I spent years believing that negative emotions were to be avoided and I chased positive ones.   Today I don't judge them as positive or negative but I use them as information to help me make choices and steer my life in the right direction for me. 

My experience 18 years ago gave me a catalyst for change.  I have spent the last 18 years developing my own resilience from a physical, mental and emotional perspective.  I have learnt techniques that help me to THRIVE most of the time.  I know what emotions I am experiencing when I start to move to a survival state and I know what to do to bring myself back to a more balanced place.  I am so grateful that I am able to use the tools I have learnt to help others be more emotionally aware and fit.  

Mental Health issues affect more than 1 in 4 people.

The Mental Organisation this year is exploring why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.  I have some observational evidence in the work that I do today to support this.  One of the self awareness exercises that I facilitate is to get people to explore what percentage of their time they spend in Surviving or Thriving.  I have observed that more and more people are spending over 50% of their time in Survival and it is only by creating space for them to explore this that they are able to see it.  

So how do you know if you are Thriving?

I know I am thriving when I am feeling energised, balanced, motivated and positive.  I am enthusiastic and realistic.  I have a sense of meaning and purpose in my life.  I have the right blend in terms of my professional and personal activities.  I have a sense of humour and perspective.  

I have many top tips that I teach as part of Emotionally-i-Fit resilience programmes.  If I was to prioritise these through my own experience it would be to lean into your feelings more rather than try to avoid them.  I do this today by practicing mindfulness and trying to sit with the discomfort.  I did 10 minutes earlier today and was really restless.  I found focusing for this amount of time difficult.  I sat through the discomfort and at the end of it I noticed some strong negative emotions that I had been trying to suppress.  I connected with them and then let them go.  For me that is emotional resilience.  

If you want to know more about how you can develop your own resilience or emotional intelligence please contact Amanda Wildman on 07815 743045 or visit www.emotionally-i-fit.com.

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Work Life Balance is outdated - blend is the future!

The term ‘work life balance’ is a tired notion.

I was first introduced to the concept of blend last year when I interviewed Mel Forbes, CEO of The Guidant Group.  I was interviewing Mel on the topic of leading with emotional intelligence.  As a business The Guidant Group had recently invested in a leadership development tool called Open Blend Method, founded by Anna Rasmussen www.openblendmethod.co.uk.   The impact of this investment, according to Mel, has been transformational.

what is Blend

Anna, a self-employed leadership coach, was six months into her maternity leave when she started considering the notion of work life balance. She was struck by how negative it felt, and intuitively knew there was a better way to look at it. She split her life into segments, and populated each with the area that needed to be considered, in order for her to reach her potential as both a mother, and a coach.  

What she found was that in reality our commitments are not separate. Instead they come together and influence each other. In short, they blend.  The concept of work life blend highlights the reality that productivity at work is impacted by life, just as life is impacted by work. Acknowledging, and respecting, that our life and our work blend together is empowering. What she found was that by getting the blend right, performance improves.  

Suddenly she had clarity, and a plan to make it all work. The concept of blend was born.  The Open Blend Method has now developed into an online leadership tool that enables managers to enhance the wellbeing, engagement and productivity of their talent.

Why do we find it so hard to get the right blend?

I believe that creating the right blend takes courage.  From my own experience it has taken me nearly 17 years to get it.  I first had to start with knowing what the right blend would look like for me.  As a coach you would think that I would have found this easy - unfortunately not.  I set out to explore and get curious about my own performance and what I was feeling when I was at my optimum level.  I had energy, vitality, creativity and a zest for life - I worked a lot less hours, but was focused and more productive.  

My turning point came one day when I realised the right blend for me was not always the same as other woman in leadership that I knew.  I believe that this is a really important message I can give to others - this is about creating the right blend for you, not for anyone else.

Of course the blend needs to benefit others including the organisation you work for, but the impact of your own wellbeing and happiness on your productivity, will ultimately be the greatest benefit you can bring an employer. 

ideas for creating the right blend

Open Blend Method have developed 6 simple steps to create your unique work/life blend based on a number of contributing factors.  The focus is progressive and acknowledges the fact that every individual is different. 

Step 1

Imagine that everything is running smoothly in your life. You are being highly effective at work, highly effective at home, you are happy and have a sense of being on top of everything. What is contributing to that?

Take some time to think about this. It is important.

You need to identify 8 contributing factors

If you want to learn more about the other steps I highly recommend talking to Anna about Open Blend Method.  I am are currently introducing the tool as part of a Management Development Programme, as a way of helping Managers to have great coaching conversations that are REALLY focused on what the individual needs and empowering them to achieve this.  The programme is an integrated mix of coaching and workshops with the focus on helping the business create a more emotionally intelligent climate.  Open Blend Method leadership tool is a practical solution to help embed the learning and transform the culture of the business.

As a Blend Coach I use Open Blend Method with my clients to help them create a unique work/life blend.  I have found this leadership tool to be transformational in helping individuals to feel more empowered, fulfill their potential and improve performance. Please contact Amanda Wildman at amanda@emotionally-i-fit.com or call 07815 743045 to find out more about workshops and coaching programmes that will create a climate of emotional intelligence with the focus on helping employees achieve the rightblend.  

"Amanda has done a fantastic job for my team at Pearson, through team workshops and individual coaching. She connects well with individuals, and tailors her approach to great effect. She understands the importance of leadership and teamship to drive corporate success and has a myriad of tools and models that can be used and applied to address the particular human challenges teams and leaders face as part of their corporate evolution. I thoroughly recommend her services." CMO Pearson. 

 

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Coaching the "impostor syndrome"

One of the many acquired methods I learnt during my executive coaching training was how to spot and work with the inner critic of a client (as well as my own).  

Many of us have a self-sabotaging inner voice - or voices that hold us back.  So it is no wonder that when clients contemplate moving forward in a big way, the voice gets louder.  The bigger the dream, the more pronounced this voice is and I often find that when my clients finally make a step closer to their big dream, the "impostor syndrome" takes hold.

The definition of Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud" and an inability to internalise their accomplishments. 

  • In her book "The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women", Valerie Young offers an empowering plan to overcome the needless self-doubt that keeps them from feeling as intelligent and competent as everyone else knows they are.
  • In her decades of in-the-trenches research on women’s self-limiting feelings and beliefs about themselves and their success, Valerie Young has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women feel as though they are “faking it” – impostors in their own lives and careers.  

While the"impostor syndrome" is not unique to women, they are more likely to agonise over tiny mistakes and blame themselves for failure; see even constructive criticism as evidence of their shortcomings; and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. When they do succeed, they think “Phew, I fooled them again”. Perpetually waiting to be “unmasked” doesn’t just drain a woman’s energy and confidence, it can make her more risk-averse and less self-promoting than her male peers, which can hurt her future success.  

 5 Steps to coaching your impostor

  1. As a coach I believe it is my role to be alert to warning signs that my client's saboteur may have taken control of their voice box - I tend to do this when I have a sense of circling the issue round and round and round.  You can spot this for yourself - what are the constant self-limiting conversations that you have about yourself that just aren't true?
  2. I ask my clients to personify it.  Give it a name - who is speaking here?  What is this voice saying?  How would you describe the voice?  Who's voice is it?  Name your impostor - what would you call it?
  3. Challenge yourself - what is the real truth, not the impostor's version?  Accept that getting a promotion or moving towards your dream will be an exciting adventure that will bring up many emotions.  Don't let the negative emotions stop you fulfilling your potential or enjoying it when you get there.
  4. Develop your Self Regard - accept and value yourself.  Once a day take few minutes to notice your 'inner critic' and challenge it with the question "is that really true?" and then affirm yourself - you are worth it.
  5. Have fun and play with it - life it too short.  I love Marianne Williamson quote "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world."

As a woman in leadership I am only too familiar with the impostor syndrome.  I play with it most days and challenge myself to work with my self-limiting feelings and beliefs.  During times of change the inner voice gets louder.  When I set up my own business it was screaming and there were times at the beginning of that journey that I wanted to move back into the corporate sector and let go of my BIG DREAM.  

I now run a coaching programme to help women, and men overcome their 'Impostor Syndrome'.  I asked one of my clients to write a testimonial for me - we had fun working with our impostors on many occasions during this coaching relationship.  

"Amanda’s talent lies in her unerring ability to ask the right question, listen to the answer - and hear what you’re not saying. She will - with kind, insightful persistence – bring to the surface deep, simple truths. And if you’re open to listening, you’ll come to understand the simplest truth: that the only person with the power to hold you back – or drive your success - is yourself. With Amanda’s encouragement, you can focus on what really matters, and take responsibility for the small steps which make a lasting change.  Good coaches don’t always make it easy or comfortable. But they do provide a safe place where you can discover in yourself and others the small number of things that make the biggest difference. And Amanda is a brilliant coach."

Contact Amanda Wildman at amanda@emotionally-i-fit.com or call her on 07815 743045 to find out more.

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Newsletter Issue No. 1

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Newsletter Issue No. 1

Welcome..
 

to the first edition of the Emotionally-i-Fit newsletter on Emotional Intelligence in relation to Leadership. Each bi-monthly edition will feature the latest news, articles, tips and upcoming events on the subject of EI and its role in successful leadership performance. We have taken the liberty of connecting with you by sending you this newsletter. You are in our network so will hopefully appreciate its content.

We are passionate about Emotional Intelligence and its positive impact on leadership and management, and would love to share a little of that passion with you. However, if at any time you wish to unsubscribe please use the button at the bottom of this issue. We're emotionally resilient and our feelings won't be hurt! If, however, you want to fulfil your own leadership potential or are responsible for developing talent, this is a topic we'd highly recommend you explore.

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Who's Pushing Your Buttons? The importance of Emotional Intelligence for good working relationships.

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Who's Pushing Your Buttons? The importance of Emotional Intelligence for good working relationships.

I am often asked the question – how can I change my behaviour when certain relationships push my buttons? 
I am sure anyone reading this can identify.  We all have blind spots in relationships and games that we have perfected over years to protect us from experiencing strong emotions.   
Dr. Eric Berne is the author of Games People Play, the groundbreaking book in which he introduces Games and Transactional Analysis to the world.  According to Dr. Berne, games are ritualistic transactions or behaviour patterns between individuals that can indicate hidden feelings or emotions.  A runaway success, Games People Play spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list in the mid 1960s – longer than any non-fiction book over the preceding decade. Games People Play and Transactional Analysis have gone on to influence and inspire millions of people, including Thomas A. Harris, author of I’m OK – You’re OK and Muriel James, author of Born to Win.

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Leaders and Emotional Intelligence. The Interviews No 2: James Wildman, CRO Trinity Mirror PLC, Part 2

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Leaders and Emotional Intelligence. The Interviews No 2: James Wildman, CRO Trinity Mirror PLC, Part 2

Continuing the series of interviews with emotionally intelligent leaders, Amanda Wildman talks to the Chief Revenue Officer of Trinity Mirror PLC. In this second clip, they discuss how to maintain self-esteem and self-regard in challenging situations.

Amanda Wildman - Director of Emotionally-i-Fit is an expert in Emotional Intelligence and leadership development. 

Emotionally-i-Fit runs assessments, coaching programmes, workshops and leadership retreats that help leaders and organisations to measure and develop the 16 metrics of Emotional Intelligence.

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Leaders and Emotional Intelligence: The Interviews No. 2, James Wildman, CRO Trinity Mirror PLC

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Leaders and Emotional Intelligence: The Interviews No. 2, James Wildman, CRO Trinity Mirror PLC

Continuing the series of interviews with emotionally intelligent leaders, Amanda Wildman talks to the Chief Revenue Officer of Trinity Mirror PLC. In this first clip, they discuss leadership style.

Amanda Wildman - Director of Emotionally-i-Fit is an expert in Emotional Intelligence and leadership development. 

Emotionally-i-Fit runs assessments, coaching programmes, workshops and leadership retreats that help leaders and organisations to measure and develop the 16 metrics of Emotional Intelligence.

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C-Suite Leaders and Emotional Intelligence: The Interviews. No. 1 Mel Forbes, CEO Guidant Group

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C-Suite Leaders and Emotional Intelligence: The Interviews. No. 1 Mel Forbes, CEO Guidant Group

Amanda Wildman, Director, Emotionally-i-Fit conducts monthly interviews on the theme of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders. First up is Mel Forbes, CEO Guidant Group

Emotional Intelligence is a combination of attitudes and behaviours that distinguish outstanding performance from average performance. It provides a framework for understanding how you manage yourself to be personally and interpersonally effective.  Your emotions are influenced by your attitudes.  In particular, your attitude towards yourself and your attitude towards other people.  There are 16 dimensions relating to Emotional Intelligence that great leaders will display.  In these interviews, we are going to explore how successful leaders demonstrate these EI behaviours in their work.

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The Power of Emotions - Why Emotional Intelligence is the Cornerstone of Successful Leadership

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The Power of Emotions - Why Emotional Intelligence is the Cornerstone of Successful Leadership

Our emotions are powerful – they provide us with valuable information if we listen to them.

So why don’t leaders do more to understand their own emotions and other people’s?

In my experience the topic is now getting greater exposure in the boardroom.  How to develop the right leadership behaviours in order to improve performance and the emotional engagement of employees is now a very hot topic and rightly so.  I do, however, observe that there is still a discomfort in the workplace with talking about emotions, and different cultures will, of course, bring another layer of complexity to this issue. 

 

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