Tag Archives: personal power

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 74: A bit personal


photo of person standing on rocks

Photo by Stijn Dijkstra 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…

This the back story, right?  What I write in these blogs isn’t what I share with my clients and potential clients. It’s not relevant to them, actually. Maybe the odd one or two might come across one of these blogs.  And that’s ok.  I’m ok with being open – as you might have gathered.

In fact, the core values of Mirror Mirror are respect, openness, inclusivity, empowerment, integrity and wellbeing.

While I’m at it, to refresh on the Mirror Mirror vision and mission:

Vision: Team alignment is widely used for organizational effectiveness and Mirror Mirror products lead the market.

Mission: We free people up from unnecessary cost and frustration at work by helping to close the alignment gaps that hold them back, so they can get on with doing great stuff together.

I get so motivated when I read that! I can feel the excitement in my stomach.  The Mirror Mirror methodology really delivers something fundamental and valuable.  Where is a team if it is not aligned, after all?

The size of this opportunity – to provide a structure so that people can get on top of this is where my motivation comes from.

Yesterday I ran my first Mirror Mirror training session in my kitchen , with 4 experienced people.  I’d given them pre-read materials via a free learning site to prepare with.  The objective was to have them able to explain and deliver Mirror Mirror independently. It was a good session. They all gave great feedback and talked about the clients they could introduce this to. Setting that up was a bit of a stress actually, but I got great guidance from Steve and Judy at Rees McCann– expert online facilitation and learning consultants. So pleased it worked out well.

But at the same time, I have that damned feeling of dread again.  We have 2 big contracts lined up for after the summer, but we don’t have any other clients firmly lined up. The pipeline looks ok but I’d like to see maybe 3 or 4 extra companies trying out Mirror Mirror this year.

We’re back to that quiet, arid, barren place, trying not to look needy.

Now, I left my last big corporate job, I was burned out.  I was teary, upset, I couldn’t sleep.  My doctor said it could be due to pre-menopausal symptoms. I went on the pill and that was 5 years ago. Then last month, I thought I’d try life without it.  I wanted to see where I was in the menopause.  I wanted to get rid of the headaches I get quite regularly that could have been caused by the pill.

Now, 5 weeks later I’m in regular hot sweats, I feel emotionally more vulnerable, and often wake up at 4.00am. It’s strangely debilitating and must be affecting my work.

I confess that I turned 50 recently – a number that I still find to be far too big (I feel about 32) – so the question is: do I brave it out, or go for hormone replacement therapy?

Then it struck me.  Maybe the feelings of dread I get – I got those more frequently in the early days of the business – are exacerbate these two pre-menopause symptoms: mood swings, anxiety.

I look back on those phases of dread, and I try to look objectively at the ‘dread’ I feel now, wondering why it was such a drama. Even if the feeling of dread is connected with a real reason to be afraid, if the course of action is not to run (to close the business now and find something else to do) but to deal with it, then I need to deal with it!

Moving the feeling of dread away isn’t burying my head in the sand and deluding myself it’s ok, it’s putting it into perspective and not letting it hamper me.

For me, the most difficult (and important) part of doing something big is self-management. It seems to have taken ages for me to learn these now obvious things:

  1. Take responsibility for yourself
  2. If you’re tired, get some rest – don’t be snappy or attribute any meaning to it until you’ve recharge
  3. Eating well boosts your energy and makes you feel like you want to eat well again
  4. Exercising boosts your physical and mental health if you regularly just do a little – like walking
  5. Putting things into perspective always helps everything
  6. Don’t criticise yourself too much, don’t be over-confident but find somewhere between the two
  7. Accept yourself as ok while still pushing yourself to go further and learning how to be different
  8. Accept other people as all being ok too – while not having to necessarily be in their lives – it’s about having respect for their validity
  9. Don’t feel obliged to do something that doesn’t serve you, unless it’s a choice you have made to help someone else
  10. Do your best to keep your good friends – forever.

Apparently, it takes a few months after coming off the pill for your hormones to return to where they were, naturally.  Wherever that is. So, I’m going to brave it out.  I’m not going to take any hormone pills and will just manage it.

For now, I’ll take tip number 6 from above, and put ‘dread’ back in its box.

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


Presence – the greatest gift a coach can give you


In her now legendary Ted talk of 2012, Amy Cuddy explores the suggestion that your body language may shape who you are. While it has long been understood that our non-verbal communication, like posture and other forms of body language, affects the way people see us, Cuddy and her colleagues focused their work on exploring whether our non-verbals affect how we think and feel about ourselves. Our minds change our bodies, says Cuddy, but can our bodies change our minds? Her TED talk answers this question by showing that the physical assumption of high or low power poses significantly impact an individual’s sense of what is possible.

Basically, what you present is what you become. If you hold the posture of a powerful, confident person, you begin to assume the power and confidence that you associate with that type of person. The same is also true of the inverse: if you adopt a low power, low confidence pose, you automatically conduct yourself with less confidence and personal power. Cuddy eventually distills this effect into one word: presence. In this context, presence refers to the ability to physically access one’s latent confidence, authority, passion and enthusiasm, and Cuddy selected the word as the title of her 2015 book, Presence – Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.

Watching Cuddy’s TED talk for the first time I was struck by her zeal and sincerity – this topic clearly meant more to her than its academic interest. Towards the end of the talk we discover why: in the summer after her sophomore year in college Cuddy wa its involved in a major car accident which left her with a traumatic brain injury. She was told that she would never finish college, but through hard work and perseverance she not only finished college, she went on to complete her graduate studies at Princeton and land a job at Harvard Business School. Despite these accolades, Cuddy struggled to shake off a nagging voice in her head that said, ‘I don’t belong here.’ How she overcame that voice and arrive at her philosophy of ‘fake it till you become it’ is a moving personal story that draws the viewer closer to her.

Then, approximately 18:30 into the video, while sharing the account of a desperate student that approached her one day with the words ‘I don’t belong here’, Cuddy falters. She is overcome with emotion and needs to pause her presentation to regain her composure. In that moment we all feel what Amy Cuddy feels: the struggles, the fear, the hardship, the hard work, the pain and the triumph. We drop into a place of empathy and compassion that visibly impacts the live audience listening to her. We are connected to her and somehow to each other. In a talk about physical presence, Cuddy’s testimony and vulnerability give us an unscripted glimpse of a deeper, richer type of presence. Being able to access this kind of presence is what makes good coaches great.

Though the veracity of Cuddy’s scientific work has been criticized in recent years, it continues to point to an important aspect of deeper presence: the body. The Harvard teacher’s TED talk and subsequent book famously advocate the use of certain postures to achieve better behavioral outcomes, but there are, in my opinion, even greater rewards to be achieved through presence. And the body is a good place to start. The yogic traditions of the east have for centuries used the body as a gateway to specific states of mind. Mindfulness meditation – the art of training the mind – rests on the body as a primary tool, with foundational practices like Breathing Meditation and the Body Scan. Even the Navy SEALs use breathing practices to calm their nervous systems and bring themselves back into the present.

The key here is embodiment. Presence is not something you think about, it’s something you manifest. At its deepest and most authentic it can only happen when you are right here in this moment, not thinking about the past or future. In a coaching conversation this is critical. If your coach is planning your next steps while you are still busy talking or, even worse, trying to remember what’s for dinner, they are not fully present. And, because all coaches are human, all clients have experienced this before. Whether you’re aware of it or not, presence feels different. We can all sense when someone is not genuinely tuned into us – even if they are making all the right noises and gestures they are somehow not connected to us. Hopefully, however, you have also experienced what it is like when a coach is fully present. Everything changes. When a person listens to you with full attention you feel heard beyond just your words. You feel understood, safe and capable of great degrees of trust. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” In such conditions your potential for change and development soars. This capacity is called Coaching Presence and is one of the ICF’s Core Competencies, but coaches’ abilities in this competency naturally vary.

As a client, presence is one of the first things you should be looking for when choosing a coach. Use your free coaching intake session to get a feel for the coach’s level of ‘here-ness’. Is she listening to more than just your words? Is he showing up fully for the process or is his mind elsewhere? Do you think she has the potential to sit with you in difficult moments without flinching? Without a coach grounded in presence and authentic attention you may not achieve the results you deserve.


Photo by Timothy Eberly 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

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