Tag Archives: personal growth

Be proactive!

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It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan

Eleanor Roosevelt

Way too often we see women in the workplace keep their heads down, deliver more than what is expected and wait for someone to notice. They don’t get the things they want, the success they have earned or the respect they deserve.

Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen. Taking personal responsibility means accepting that you, and only you, are in charge of your own destiny.

One of the keys to professional success is your ability to let others know who you are, what you have to offer and how you can make a difference.

Your career is totally your responsibility. It is up to you to do appropriate career planning and to take the necessary steps, i.e. obtaining the education and training that will support your career plans, changing job every 3-5 years, seeking advice from mentors, asking for specific and timely feedback, raising your hand for high profile assignments and building strong, supportive networks.

Women who professionally succeed take control of their lives. They don’t believe they are owed anything. They speak up and put themselves forward. If, after using their best efforts, they still don’t get what they believe they’re due, they move on.

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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The happiness factor

 

My youngest child turned eight yesterday, and the unbridled joy that poured from her on her birthday was infectious. It was an understated but close family celebration, and she reveled in being the center of attention for an entire day. From presents to cake to games to photos, my daughter smiled and laughed and danced. It occurred to me that she was happy – spontaneously, effusively happy. It also occurred to me that the difference between children and most adults I know is not principally whether they are happier or not, it is that they don’t try to be happy. Happiness is a powerful emotion. It has been associated with having a healthier heart, a stronger immune system and a longer life. But the main reason we’re attracted to it is because it feels so good. That’s the reason it is the final objective of almost the entire bookshelf of the self-help industry: stronger relationships, more money, greater sense of purpose, higher success, a more desirable job – in one way or another these make us feel happy, at least for a period of time. It is also the reason that the self-help industry is worth more than $11 billion a year in the US alone, and the global depression drug market is poised to surge to $16.80 billion by 2020. Everyone is after the happy kick, whether they find it in a book, a podcast or a pill.

This is in the context of global increases in depression and anxiety, and what seems to be a growing aversion to not feeling good. We have come to regard emotions like sadness, anger and loneliness as ‘bad’. Undoubtedly, they don’t feel great, but just like all emotions they contain information that can be used to make better decisions. Writing off ‘negative’ feelings eliminates a large portion of the human spectrum of emotions, leaving us chasing a one-dimensional ‘happy’ version of life. And the chase itself is damaging, because in our achievement-obsessed culture happiness is frequently sold as a goal that needs to be attained. If you’re not attaining it and everyone else is – as appears to be the case every time you log onto social media – you must be a failure, which is generally how you end up feeling after an hour of looking at your friends’ holiday photos on facebook. And Martin Seligman – who’ll we’ll meet later – identified the risk of this constant sense of failure in his depression-related theory of Learned Helplessness: after enough conditioning in pain and suffering, human beings will begin to believe that they have no control over what happens to them, and will begin to assume helplessness.

Rather than a goal, happiness is a state – a composite of psychological, neurological, physiological and even spiritual elements, the blend of which varies from person to person and time to time. But, as Dr Rick Hanson proposes in his book Resilience, this changeable state can be made more of a habit by utilizing the brain’s dependent neuroplasticity. Proactively engaging in positive behaviour supports the creation and reinforcement of neural pathways that generate higher levels of wellbeing. Proactivity is an important part of this concept. As Stephen Covey points out,

‘[Proactivity] means more than merely taking initiative. It means that, as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.’

It’s an attitude that directly counters Learned Helplessness, which is why it is the cornerstone of Martin Seligman’s other great contribution to mental wellbeing: positive psychology. In his work on depression Seligman came to the view that modern psychology was too strongly focused on pathology and mental illness, and not focused enough on mental wellness. Basically, mental health practitioners were spending most of their time analyzing what was wrong, and not really looking at what was right. When Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1998 he used the opportunity to promote a new approach to psychology, one based on the positive, the uplifting and the inspiring. Sounds great, but what about the painful and the sad? Life isn’t just unicorns and rainbows. Positive psychology agrees, intentionally embracing the more difficult aspects of human experience, but granting them the weight they really deserve. Yes, things can be bad and it’s important to acknowledge that, but things are seldom as bad as we make them out to be and that’s important to acknowledge too.

Seligman’s perspective has become widely popular, not because it’s another feelgood fad aimed at denying the challenges of the human condition, but because it lends itself to practical and accessible long-term change. Rick Hanson’s work reveals that the cumulative effect of small habit changes can be profound and, to echo Viktor Frankl, the capacity for positive change resides in all humans. Yet, this is not the same as chasing happiness – this requires a willingness to be self-compassionate and accepting of what is, not an obsessive attachment to what could be.

Click here for a list of simple practices that help build emotional wellbeing.

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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

It takes a strong person to admit when help is needed!

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By: Anja Uitdehaag

Brene Brown has found through her research that women tend to feel shame around the idea of being ‘never enough’… at home, at work, in bed, never pretty enough, never smart enough, never thin enough, never good enough…

Men tend to feel shame around the fear of being perceived as weak, or more academically, ‘fear of being called a pussy’.

Both sexes get trapped in the same box for different reasons.

If I ask for help…
I am not enough.

If I ask for help…
I’m weak.

It’s no wonder so many of us don’t bother to ask, it’s too painful.” 

Amanda Palmer

I pride myself on being independent and doing things my own way.

My whole life I’ve been a person who thought I was being strong by doing everything on my own, even if it meant doing it with struggle.

For me “I can do it myself!” is somehow a much more instinctual reaction than “thank you”.

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ASSERTIVE LANGUAGE

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There are some conflicting views about whether women should minimize the use of weak language; word such as ‘just’. A few years ago Ellen Petry Leanse, former exec at Google and Apple (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/just-say-ellen-petry-leanse) noticed that women use the word ‘just’ frequently in emails, conversations and emails. She felt that this was a ‘permission’ word that put the other party in a position of authority and control. Shane Ferro, writing in Business Insider (http://tinyurl.com/zkjutoy), disputes Leanses’s claims saying that women should not have to self-regulate everything that they are saying since this in itself undermines their confidence.

When women try to act more like their male counterparts and use strong language they are often viewed negatively. Therefore, it is important to find your own, unique voice and style that reflects who you are and how you want to be seen. If you are happy to be seen as hard and aggressive, that’s fine. If you want to have a different reputation, look for a way to get your message across in an assertive, yet feminine way.

Believe in yourself, you are in your position because your colleagues and seniors think that you are capable and have a valid perspective. Speak out with authority on topics where you have a viewpoint and something to contribute.

Think about how you want to come across to other participants; what impression do you want to make? What do you want them to say and think about you? Ensure that you wear outfits that make you feel good and confident whilst respecting the dress code.

 Learning suggestions:

  • Think about what you want your reputation to be. What behaviours will reinforce this brand? Make sure that you look and act the part. For example, if you want to be promoted, take actions that demonstrate that you are capable of operating at that level and people will start visualizing you there;
  • Set yourself a goal to be more assertive in meetings. Enlist the help of a trusted colleague who can give you feedback on how you came across and what impact you had on the other attendees. Take this feedback on board and try to improve your interactions in future;
  • Listen attentively to how others put their ideas across. What language do they use? What emotion do they convey; do they remain calm and composed? Do they get angry? Do they emphasize important points? Analyse what techniques are effective in which scenarios and try to incorporate them into your own communication style;
  • Remember these following tips:
    • Use the word ‘I’ so that you retain control;
    • Maintain eye contact;
    • Have a good posture;
    • Express body language by using gestures that convey warmth and openness;
    • Be clear. Make short statements that are to the point and unambiguous;
    • Learn to be comfortable with silence and pauses. This can emphasize the point you are making and also give people time to think and digest what you are saying;
    • Use appropriate language i.e. no swearing and don’t be rude!
    • If you feel strong emotions welling up (for example, tears or anger) take some deep breaths to give you time to compose yourself;
    • Be aware of your voice i.e. not too soft or too loud;
    • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • When you find yourself doubting your ability, remember that ability grows with experience and effort. In other words: “The will must be stronger than the skill” (Sheryl Sandberg);

How many of the tips above do you follow? Identify areas and situations where you can increase your assertiveness.

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

Time

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By: Angie Falls

In essence we all are time travellers.

Late at night, there is this thought in my mind that just wouldn’t leave me until I wrote it down. I see the past in front of me and realize that I am unique in the universe and that everything revolves around me. Every event and occurrence in time is to teach me. Every step ahead I learn new lessons from the people I meet and the surroundings in which I move. I travel in time to the future. The years pass by me and I can see and feel the time. I only possess the ability to move forward. Unfortunately, I can’t turn back time. So many times, I wish I could. I must google this.

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Are you living the life you want or submitting to the directives, aspirations and advice that others impose on you?

 

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From the moment we are born we develop both our motives and values. Motives are deep-seated non-conscious desires and are the things that we enjoy doing. Values develop through social conditioning – home, school, religion, work, friends etc. Values are what we feel are important; the things we should do.

David McClelland’s theory on human motivation states that in normal, healthy human beings there are 3 social motives and values that describe the widest range of behaviors; achievement, affiliation and power. Achievement is a concern for achieving a standard of excellence that the individual sets for him/herself. Often people with a dominant achievement motive strive for mastery and expertise in their chosen field. Affiliation is concerned with having positive relationships for the sake of the relationship (and not in service of something else). Individuals with a dominant affiliation motive invest in a few, deep relationships and often have strong reactions towards others – they are clear whom they like and dislike. They prefer environments that are convivial and foster friendship. The power motive is a concern to have influence and impact on others. People with a dominant power motive like to have an audience and visibility. They are often good networkers.

There is no ‘right’ motive profile that determines success; we are all different.   The key to our success lies in understanding what drives our behavior in various situations; this is a combination of our motives and our values (what we believe is important at the time) and the conditions that we find ourselves in. Defining personal success is a journey of self-discovery; you need to figure out what is your true purpose, what you are passionate about, what you enjoy and find ways at work to satisfy that need.   You must to listen to your inner voice rather than be influenced by others so that you can lead a fulfilling life and not feel regret when you retire because you did not follow your heart.

Learning suggestions:

  • Take some time to determine what your motives are. There are several ways to do this:
  1. You can work with work with a coach who is accredited to help you uncover your motives and values. Usually, he/she will recommend that you take a survey to more accurately diagnose your dominant drivers since we are often not conscious of what these are.
  2. Assess your behavior patterns over time; whilst the specific circumstances may vary you look for opportunities to satisfy your motives. For example, do you always put your hand up when there is a challenging or complex problem to solve or project to run? Do you like to learn new things or deepen your knowledge in a certain area? Do you love taking the floor and entertaining people?   These patterns will be related to your underlying motives.
  3. Consider what you do in your spare time when you are free to choose. For example, do you like to spend time with close friends or family? Are you learning a new skill? Do you chair a group? Again, this will indicate your dominant motive.
  4. Get feedback from the people who know you well about what they see in your behavior.
  • Do some reflection on your life story so far. What was it like growing up? How have events shaped you? What lessons have you learned? What does that mean for how you want to live your life?

Determine what your purpose is. This should come out of your motives and values and be a guiding light in terms of what you want to achieve and how you define success.

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 time flies.

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By: Angie Falls

The new year has begun and it gives me time to reflect on the past year. How exciting has it been? In a short time span, I was privileged to follow up on so many new adventures. Little did I know when I started my coaching study how it would develop. As a professional working in an international environment taught me a lot about communicating with people from different cultures. I wanted to develop this skill on a different level by coaching individuals who graduate and want to have a job experience in an international setting. This turned out to be very successful and one day when I was having lunch with an acquaintance I communicated about the excitement of this new activity. She shared with me that she was looking for a person with expert knowledge on expats. Her company was approached with a new assignment for which she did not have the in-house knowledge. This new assignment she would dare to pursue if I would assist. I instantly agreed and together we started this new chapter in our mutual lives. I was trained by her with the theoretical approach which was developed for this type of coaching. Along the way, she would be my coach for this assignment. The assignment was family coaching in the most extended way you can imagine and mostly for a track of 1 year. It involved the integration of another culture and the way of living. When a highly skilled migrant is invited by a company they mostly leave their home country with their families. Coaching is primarily with the focus on growing children at the age of approximately 16 years and their spouses who need to adapt life in a new country. I started a course Introduction to Psychology to get a better understanding of people in general. The whole coaching process turned out to be very time consuming for me and there were occasions during the coaching track that I needed assistance from behavioral specialists. I ventilated this to my acquaintance with an advice concerning collaboration with other colleagues. She granted me this and I was promoted to manager of the assignment. Two behavioral specialists were introduced to me. I had to select one to assist on this specific assignment. The candidate that I had the best connection with was very well organized in her presentation and a very likable person to collaborate with. When I started working with her she also could report and document on a high level. All of that for a student who graduated and just finished her internship to start her first assignment for the company with me. I discussed the assignment with her and the actions we had to take. I could share with her my knowledge and learn from her as a behavioral specialist. While working on the first assignment I was offered a new assignment to work on. I told my acquaintance that I would like to coordinate this assignment only if I could agree on this with the behavioral specialist with whom I am working right now. I felt that we were the perfect duo for both the assignments. That became coaching journey number two. My goals for 2018? 2018 make way here I come!

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