Monthly Archives: May 2019

GRIT

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“Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” – James. C. Collins 

Sports can teach us a lot about  goals, determination and hard-work.

According to Nicole Haislett, Olympic Swimmer, the essence of hard work is: “identifying your personal limits, and then pushing past them, and then setting new barriers, and then … repeating the process again and again.” Knowing how hard she had worked enabled her to stand behind the starting block with the confidence that she was capable of winning. And she did: three gold medals! Continue reading

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Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 71: Devil’s in the detail

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Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

I’m getting on with everything after having had a couple of weeks off. Nothing big to tell you, except about nuance and how important details are in getting things right.

For example, apparently there’s a 33% higher response rate to a more personalised communicationsthan generalised communications.  It takes a little more time to customise, but it’s detail well worth paying attention to.

Here are a more on those lines I’ve found:

The devil is in the detail with …. social media

Social media experts will tell anyone that investing in social is a great idea.  But there’s a payback scale to watch out for before you spend time or money:

  • Level 1 –how much people know the concept – WHAT you are selling (such as socks, widgets)
  • Level 2 – how much people have seen the brand you are putting to that product or service
  • Level 3 – how many touch points people have had with your brand and product or service, and the quality of those (such as heard a presentation, read an article, experienced the product).

The lower you are on that scale, the less effective social media marketing will be – because the extent to which people can relate to your offer determines their likelihood to react.

MBTI is a very well known, widely implemented psychometric tool. Social media promotions will probably get a return on investment.

Mirror Mirror however, is actually selling something people don’t know they need, the brand is not at all known, and people are very unlikely to have experienced its story, philosophy or process.

Everyone needs a digital footprint, however.  That’s why I’ve decided to go for a marketing plan with 95% relationship building and 5% online PR.

Now I can focus better.

The devil is in the detail with …. data reporting

Now that we’re more than half way through building up our new reporting tool based on Tableau, I can see our draft report formats in a new light.

The way that lines are shaded, that blocks are coloured, that space is made on a page of data is absolutely critical, let alone bringing the numbers together in a way that tells an insightful and compelling story.

The devil is in the detail with …. almost everything, it seems… Gone are the days of flippant, adrenaline-fuelled, gut instinct.  Boring, but better, I guess 😊

Mirror MirrorWe identify and close alignment gaps between people in organizations to improve engagement and performance.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

How To Stay Creative Even When You’re Not Feeling It

Innovation has become a prized commodity in business and commerce. With regular disruption becoming the norm in most industries it is more critical than ever for organizations to be able to shift and adapt with new ideas and approaches. The pressure to innovate has become accepted but it is often this pressure itself that stunts the innovation so desperately sought. Under stress the human brain goes into fight-or-flight mode, flooding the body with hormones and chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline that focus the sympathetic nervous system on defense and survival. Under these conditions the divergent thinking that underpins creativity is unavailable.

However, even when stress is moderated, most working environments do not stimulate creative thinking. This goes beyond edgy graffiti on office walls and table tennis in the chill out area, it requires an understanding of the approach to thinking itself. Typical corporate systems recruit and develop high levels of convergent thinking: the progressive, analytical and logical thought processes that deliver amazing results in problem solving, but elicit few fresh new ideas. In order to enter phases of divergent thinking the mind needs to feel relaxed, safe and open. There is correlation here with brain activity. In a typical work day people spend the predominance of their time in singular focus on particular tasks. This ‘getting things done’ mode is associated with beta wave patterns in the brain, which facilitate productive results-oriented thinking.

Raw creativity, however, cannot be accessed through beta brainwaves alone. Mark Beeman’s work on the Eureka Moment has revealed that these ‘Aha!’ experiences are typified by bursts of gamma wave activity that light up multiple neural networks. Importantly, though, these flashes only occur when the brain is in, or has recently spent time in, alpha brain wave states. These are the states we enter when we feel calm and relaxed, but alert. Time in nature, for example, is an almost automatic trigger of this state, with bird song alone being shown to tune the brain into alpha wave patterns.

Postmodern life being what it is we all know that experience of needing to be creative, but just not feeling it. It might be fatigue or mental overload, but we just can’t seem to access what we need to call in the new. This is not a hopeless situation, though. There are ways to shift the tide in your favour:

1- Breathe
A few slow deep breaths calm the mind and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is particularly helpful if you feel anxious and need to be creative on demand. Breathing in this way also helps oxygenate the blood which brings greater mental clarity. Try this quick and simple practice (repeat three times): breathe in through the nose to the count of 4 (all the way to the belly), then exhale slowly through the mouth to the count of 8.

2- Exercise
Regular exercise has multiple proven benefits, one of them being a better-regulated autonomic nervous system that is more resilient and less sensitive to stress. If you have to create something and it’s feeling impossible, a quick burst of exercise is an intelligent investment. It clears the mind, stimulates endorphins and helps build a feeling of empowerment – one of the biggest blocks to creativity is the feeling of being overwhelmed and disempowered. What type of exercise? Whatever feels fun or enjoyable – anything from a jog to a quick round of squats.

3- Change your surroundings
A shift in environment and stimuli activates the brain’s innate curiosity and tickles the creative muscles. If you’ve ever noticed that you work well in a coffee shop full of noise, this is partly why. If that change of environment allows you to engage with nature you’re winning. Walks in green areas have for centuries been known to open the creativity taps.

4- Fill the well
As Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, says, creativity cannot be a one-way process. If one thinks of creative pursuits as tapping from a source, that source needs to be filled. In order to have creativity available to you when you need it make sure you regularly partake in solitary activities that stimulate and feed you. That could be listening to music, drinking a cup of coffee at a sunny window, a swim in the ocean, or 15 minutes looking at beautiful photographs on unsplash.com– it’s truly personal.

5- Take a happiness break
This feels counterintuitive when we are under pressure but taking a break to do something you find fun or enjoyable pays dividends later. You may discover that you don’t allow yourself these breaks often, because few of us do. We’re not talking here of gratuitous indulgence, just a little shot of joy. Often this itself asks you to be creative (‘What can I do right now that would be fun?’) and that gets your work started for you.

6- Call a friend
Humans have a remarkable ability to stimulate each other’s creativity. Feeling stuck? Get up from your desk and walk away. Call a friend or loved one for a 10-minute chat with no agenda other than to say hi and talk about whatever comes up. If you have nothing to say, tell them you’ve called to talk nonsense for 10 minutes so that you can be more creative. Combine this with numbers 3 and 5 above for maximum value.

7- Slay the dragon of resistance
Sometimes a lack of creativity is not a lack of creativity at all – it is resistance to doing work that we feel blocked against. The reasons for this could be numerous and to get through the resistance we need to engage with it directly and with courage. Find guidance here.

Photo by Cody Davis on Unsplash

Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Continue reading

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Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Art is a language

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The meaning of “The Art of Living and Living for Art” perhaps lies in how I define art. Art is a language and like any other language it is a vehicle of communication i.e. self-expression of ideas and most inner/deep feelings. Language is an important aspect of any culture and cultures tend by nature to limit one’s freedom in one way or another. Here is where art comes in – it provides freedom of expression without any limitation or boundaries and provides ample opportunity for imagination and creativity.

Mine Batiyel

Each and every one of us has their own way of showing their creativity It is our choices that block or enable that creativity. Given the right kind of opportunity and environment, even people who haven’t embraced their creativity since preschool can be coaxed into expressions of imaginative thought.

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.  No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create.  You don’t need money position or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.  You might say I am not the creative type.  If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit children of the most creative being in the universe.  Isn’t it remarkable to thing that your very spirits are fashioned by and endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God?  Think about it, your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with the beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.”

Creation is your opportunity in this life and in the life to come.

Start small. Creativity does not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano.

Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you.  You will make the world a better place.

Improve.  Beautify.  Extend. Smile. Cultivate. Develop. Create.

“The more you trust and rely upon the spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come.”

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

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Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 70: We have lift off

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Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

What a high – I feel as if we’re lifting off!  A big part of the boost is working as an associate of this consultancy in London with my mate Mr. P.  He’s just GREAT.

Meeting in London last Tuesday.  Insurance company.  Our contact there is a personal friend of Mr. P.  Within an hour, the guy is sold and wants to send our pitch up to his HR Director. Apparently, the timing is perfect, the company motto is ‘People First’, and they’re going through lots of changes that need some kind of support. It fits.  I’m heartened.

We walk down the road to a café.  Mr. P gets a sandwich. I grab some soup.

Next up is a well-established training company.  Again, our guy there is a personal contact of Mr. P.  Within an hour, him and the Director of Learning he brought along to the meeting with him are sold.  Apparently, the timing is perfect because they recently launched a ‘team productivity’ training programme and it flopped. They need something in its place right now.  Mirror Mirror slots straight in.  I never thought of it as a training programme before, but people going through Mirror Mirror learn how to be more effective together.  Wow.  Next steps, I write the training materials, Mr. P organizes the contract.  It fits. Again. I’m ecstatic.

Mr. P goes back to his office.

And to finish the afternoon, is an appointment I’d set up for myself. They’re a huge start-up out of San Francisco who basically run an app that delivers targeted content to employees and gathers employee feedback data.  I’m thinking they could do with something extra that adds 5 levels of sophistication to this transactional feedback loop, right?

The European Manager took an interest.  Could lead somewhere…  somewhere big.

I did get a bit neurotic about that appointment a few days in advance, to be honest.  It is the kind of situation where they could buy a ditty-bitty like Mirror Mirror up, if they liked it.

What scared me is that I could feel in my heart of hearts that I’d have to accept if the offer was half-decent.  Why? Because as much as I love Mirror Mirror, I’ve had three years of scrabbling around trying to sell it with NO funding, NO organized marketing, NO pre-established brand or credibility, and NO big product all figured out, like the guy from the San Francisco app had when he started selling his app in Europe.

But it’s amazing how two good sales meetings can turn one’s confidence.  Now I’m all cool.  I’m just fine as I am. I’d have to think about an offer.

Now, if this training company and their endless contact list gets going, I need to prepare myself:

  • To turn my little one-man-band into an established, incorporated company
  • Completion of our Tableau-based reporting tool
  • Some trained delivery agents
  • A pretty good administration system to make sure all the contracts and invoices are properly processed.

And that’s what I’m going to spend the summer on. People are starting to buy. WOW!!!!!!!!

Mirror MirrorWe identify and close alignment gaps between people in organizations to improve engagement and performance.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Can you be truly successful without making some friends at work?

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Given the increasing demands of work, it is likely that you are working long hours on projects with your colleagues. The intensity of the work can result in camaraderie and the formation of strong bonds – a feeling of ‘we are all in this together’. Therefore, it is not surprising that some work colleagues may consider you to be more than just a coworker and try to extend the relationship to your personal life.

It is hard to be strict about never mixing work and personal life since you may find that there are a few people at work whom you both respect as colleagues and get with on a personal level. Therefore, it would be a shame to cut yourself off from the possibility of cultivating them as friends because you feel that would be unprofessional and/or you like to keep your work and personal life separate.   If you have adopted this philosophy ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you feel this way?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • What do you gain from this approach?
  • What do you lose out on?

If you feel uncomfortable with any invitation to socialize either physically or virtually it is best to have a face-to-face conversation with the person concerned. Do not respond to a friend request on Facebook directly on the app/platform. Ask the individual why they sent you the invitation  Remember to use a tone that is conversational rather than judgmental. ‘I saw that you sent me a friend request on Facebook, I’m curious as to why’ or ‘By the way, I saw your friend request on Facebook, that was a surprise’ are better than ‘Why did you send me a friend request on Facebook?’ Actively listen to what he/she is saying to you; your aim is to get the other person to open up to you so you understand his/her motives, then you can decide how you want to respond.

If you still feel awkward with having a personal relationship say that politely; thank him/her for the invitation and say that you normally prefer not to mix business and pleasure. However, it may be that once you have heard the reasons, for example, the person does not know many people in the area and would like to meet up occasionally or feel that you have mutual interests that you can share via social media, you will feel able to give this a try.   It is fine to tell him/her that you feel a bit awkward since this is not something that you normally do, but will give it a try to see how it goes. This signals to the other person that there is a chance that you will ‘unfriend’ him/her at some point if you continue to feel awkward.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

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Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com