One thing I know, for sure, is that my father loves ice-cream. He had been through a horrendous time of surgery and recovery so when his meal was delivered I wanted to get him some ice-cream to cheer him up.
The lady who delivered the meals was in a hurry and had loads of meals to deliver.
“I can’t really ask her” I decided.
Then I remembered something I’d learnt in May this year.
So I asked.
“I’ll have to go all the way downstairs and I still have all these meals to deliver”, she grumbled.
“Oh well, I tried” I thought and promptly dismissed the possibility.
Twenty minutes later she walked in with the ice-cream for my Dad. Yay!
That was all thanks to Ed Tate ( http://www.edtate.com/) – he was a speaker at a conference I attended, and one of the things he spoke about was asking for things you want. So often we feel uncomfortable to ask for what we want, for various reasons – so we don’t ask.
Ed says – “Don’t say no to yourself before they do.”
I’ve been practicing ever since.
It doesn’t always work – on Friday night we went to dinner with our three kids to a local restaurant. There was a huge TV in the corner.
Now I don’t know about you, but if there is a TV on in front of me, my eyes keep drifting to it, even if I don’t want to watch. It’s so distracting and frustrating.
My kids, as kids will do, reminded me about Ed Tate. So I asked.
I got a NO. They had a good reason to keep the TV on. The lights in the ceiling weren’t working – so the TV was providing light in the restaurant.
I didn’t win with that one. It also didn’t matter. What mattered was that I asked.
Yesterday we were at breakfast with friends, and my friend wanted something that wasn’t on the menu.
Naturally I told her about Ed Tate – so she asked.
She had to explain exactly what she wanted – croissant with cream cheese, rocket and fried baby tomatoes – it was a meal created from different options on the menu. She got it – exactly as requested!
Don’t say no to yourself before they do.
My challenge to you: Every time you want something during the next two weeks – ask for it. See what happens.
Let me know how it goes….
(Image by marc falardeau on Flickr)
FIRST WORKING EXPERIENCES
To gain work experience as soon as you can is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your future.
Most jobs require experience and a degree for you to be considered. The problem is that it is difficult to find that work experience
There are two important things about searching for vac jobs:
PLAN and USE your CONTACTS
Plan: It is important to plan in advance because the company needs time to prepare what they are going to do with you for the time you are there. If it’s not arranged in advance it will probably not happen.
Use your contacts: The biggest influence on your ability to find a job is who you know, or in my case (a varsity student) who your parents know! I have been fortunate enough to have parents that have connections in the line of work that I want to go into.
It has been such a new and different experience working in companies. Here are some of the things I have learnt.
Lessons from doing vac jobs:
Lesson 1: Only listen to your boss, not others. A huge part of your working experience revolves around the people you work with. The first vac job I got last year was with a small company where I worked with about five people.The first thing I learnt that you have to be careful from whom you take orders.
One day when my boss was off sick, another lady told me I could leave work early. I thought this was great because I wanted to get home. That night my dad told me something that made a lot of sense: he said that the only person I should listen to at work is my boss. This is because if my boss had come back to work that afternoon and I was not there, I would be the one with the bad record.
Lesson 2: Don’t take things personally. The second thing I learnt was from my work experience (in a much bigger company this year) was that you will meet a wide variety of people. Every person will treat you differently and you have to be aware of who and what you let influence and affect you. You will meet some great people from whom you will learn a lot. You may also encounter a few nasty people. I had to learn quickly how to not take things personally.
One woman in particular was quite verbally aggressive and antagonistoc towards me, although she knew nothing about me. I was taken aback. I wanted to shout back at her or throw something at her but all I did was sit and smile at her. I did not respond to anything she said. If I had reacted she would have gotten exactly what she wanted, to make ME look like the fool. Instead I chose to feel sorry for her and her issues.
To my delight she eventually left me alone. This was a huge eye-opener for me – I never thought I would meet unprofessional people in such a professional environment.
You have to prepare yourself to meet all kinds of people and think of how you will deal with them.
Lesson 3: Go outside your comfort zone. I learnt that going out of your comfort zone to do what is required of you will help you to grow as a person. This helped me to overcome some of my fears.
I am quite a shy person when interacting with people that I do not know. In this vac job I had to phone many people. I often had no idea of how to pronounce their names. I would get so nervous before calling them.
What I decided to do was to just dial the number without thinking of the task and when the person answered I had to just go with it. It became a lot easier for me in the end because I had learnt that, even if people were unfriendly on the phone, I was doing a good job.
Lesson 4: Fake it till you make it. Appear confident and friendly even if that is not how you are feeling inside. It can be extremely nerve-racking when you are in a new job, but appearing confident will allow others to feel confident in your abilities. Once you have acted confident for a few days it will feel more natural. Suddenly you will truly feel confident in yourself and your abilities.
Communication is often cited as the issue when conflict arises. We communicate all day, every day and yet, somehow, we are still not good at it.
Mark Brown, the 1995 World Champion of Public Speaking, addressed us yesterday on this very topic. He gave us many gems and lessons in communication.
This is the lesson that I loved the most:
There is a word used in (and outside of) business today that just does not cut it in terms of clear communication.
That innocent sounding word is ASAP.
We all know what it means …. as soon as possible.
BUT what does that actually mean?
Picture the scene: You send an email to Jack.
“I need that report asap”
In your head you know and understand that you need it by 16h00 today.
What’s happening in Jack’s head? Jack is already working on a deadline and decides he’ll do your report tomorrow. He’s going to do it as soon as possible for him, not as soon as possible for you.
What happens? You get really tense with Jack because he does not deliver. Jack gets really tense with you because he was doing the best he can, and you just don’t understand him.
It happens so easily, doesn’t it.
Yet, the responsibility for Jack understanding your communication lies with you NOT him.
It such a simple thing, such a tiny word and so easy to avoid the misunderstanding.
How do you do this? Tell Jack by when you need the report.
“Please can you get that report back to me by 16h00 today”.
In this case, a few more words, and yet – much clearer communication.
Of course, Jack may come back and say he cannot get it done, in which case the two of you negotiate and decide on something that’ll work for both of you.
There are three reasons that we get into a mess around communication:
Become aware of the kind of language you are using.
Are you guilty of any of these three points?
Thanks Mark!! for an inspiring talk and effective tips on communication.
Remember: one word can make a huge difference.
You want to be clear when you communicate deadlines with someone?
Here’s the deal:
When I made a decision to study Applied Life Coaching in 2004, my goal (obviously!) was to pass. I would day dream about doing really well (I did) and about leaving teaching (I did) and about working from home (I did).
True, there is joy in having achieved my goal. I can tick it off my list. I can say it’s done. I can live the way I planned.
(An aside: much of this is thanks to the support of my husband – thanks my darling!!)
My story supports the common belief that when you set and achieve goals you will be happy. This is seen as the ultimate value of goal setting.
True – It is a value, but it’s not the ultimate one.
When I compare Kirsten before Studying and Kirsten after Studying there is quite a difference.
Herein lies the true value of setting and achieving goals.
It’s about who you become on the journey to achieving your goals.
I learnt, and am still learning, a great deal on my coaching journey about people, about relationships and about human emotions. The biggest learning for me, however, has been in understanding myself. My awareness of my inner state and the affect that has on me and others has allowed me to view myself and others in a more empathetic light. I am also aware that I am still on this journey! There is always more. More to understand and learn…
Who you become on your journey to achieving a goal is the ultimate value in goal-setting.
Working on achieving a goal allows you to grow as a person.
Amongst other things you’ll probably acquire self-discipline, knowledge, new skills, wisdom, and courage and so on. These rewards are the ultimate ones.
Working towards a goal is not so much about the destination, but more about who you become. That is priceless!
One of the things I hate most is walking into a crowded room. If I know a few people, it’s half OK. If its a room full of strangers my anxiety levels rise sky high.
Anyone else out there like me?
In his book “The new psycho-cybernetics”, Maxwell Maltz says that “excessive concern over what other people think inhibits personality more than any other factor.”
When I walk into a room of strangers I become excessively self-conscious. I’m convinced that everyone, EVERYONE, is looking at me, judging me, disliking me, wishing I wasn’t there.
The silly fact is that most people are worrying about the same thing – they’re too busy worrying about themselves being judged that they won’t really notice you.
Feeling self-conscious and shy is uncomfortable. Most people hate feeling like that.
What’s more serious, is that when you are feeling self-conscious, you do not behave like your ‘normal’ self. You may speak more softly, or not contribute to a conversation at all. You may keep your opinions to yourself. You may giggle instead up laughing heartily.
Being self-conscious inhibits your authenticity.
How do you overcome this? The answer that people hate to hear: With practice and determination. (No magic pills here!)
Here are some of the things that have worked for me:
What are the kinds of things you’ve tried that have helped?
Overcoming self-consciousness is possible. You have to decide, then practice different techniques, until you find something that works for you.
You’ll know when you’re getting it right because you’ll behave authentically in difficult social situations – and you’ll feel better.
There are many tools and techniques out there that help with stress.
They all work (if you do them)…
However, one technique is essential. I wrote an article about it for All4Woman.
Like most things, you have to practice this technique. It’s worth it!
Here are some stress busting ideas from some of my followers.
Thanks for sharing. I know there’s wisdom out there amongst my followers and subscribers. This way we’ll all learn.
If you’d like to share yours, add a comment below, or mail me on email@example.com
Very briefly, my Top Stress Busting Tips:
Kind regards, Vasudev Popatlal
My tip would be meditation along with prayer and faith. It works every single time.
I feel that no matter how difficult a situation, it inadvertently builds stress – my handling mechanism is as follows :
However, the best result will always be a successful future.
Kind Regards, Delaine Manuel
Also see comments from the previous post.
Do you make a conscious effort to reduce your stress levels?
Are you one of those people who keep talking about how stressed they are, and yet do nothing to alleviate the stress.
Managing your stress levels means only one thing: taking some action that will help you to feel relaxed.
It’s not that difficult because you probably have a pretty good idea of what will relax you. The difficulty is making a decision to do that thing!
The first place to start is awareness. Often we get so busy and harassed that we don’t notice how our levels of stress are building.
Your stress is carried in your body. Stop once or twice a day. Scan your body for signs of stress. Notice your breathing – is it shallow and quick or deep and satisfying? How do your shoulders feel? Your neck? You back? Whats happening in your stomach area? Any signs of anxiety?
My stress is always in my shoulders and neck. As soon as those get very tight I know it’s time to consciously chill out a bit.
If your stress levels are high, decide what you can do to relax. Build a repertoire of things that’ll work for you – include actions that are short, as well as long.
These could include: sipping a cup of tea with your brain in neutral; going for a brisk walk, calling a friend, doing breathing exercises; having a massage; listening to music; gym etc etc.
Here are my top 3 stress-busting exercises:
What works for you? You’ll know best what relaxes you.
Write down a list – keep it on your phone. Use the shorter ones at regular intervals during the day, and plan to do at least one of the longer activities once a week.
YOU are the only one who can manage your stress levels.
Are you going to take responsibility for your own welfare and do what it takes to be more relaxed?PS. Send me your best stress-busting tip. I’ll compile them into a blog post so that we can all learn from each other. Email me on Kirsten@coach4life.co.za, or post a comment below.
Who gets the best?
Who gets the worst?
Perhaps your work days are a little like Craig’s day was yesterday. He got up early and rushed to work. There were meetings and problems and difficulties. There were laughs and solutions and disciplined reactions. He drank coffee and ate food on the run. He worked long hours. He felt depleted, emotionally and physically, when he finally left the office. Now he had to battle through the traffic.
As he walked through the door of his home, the kids rushed to him and his wife asked him to do something. He exploded.
“Can’t you just give me 10 minutes to settle in?”
The evening was miserable. He was grumpy and irritated. All he wanted was to be left alone and everyone wanted a bit of him. He went to bed feeling frustrated. His sleep was disturbed with a niggling discomfort.
Who got the best of Craig? His work ? His family?
Last night a man called Kazik gave a touching speech at Toastmasters. It was called “Flowers Cannot Wait”. He told us how his wife loved flowers. Early in their marriage he stopped giving them to her because the money was better spent elsewhere. The sparkle in her eyes faded away.
When she was dying of cancer he started bringing her flowers again. The sparkle in her eyes shone gently through her pain. At her funeral the house and church were overflowing with flowers.
His greatest regret will always be that he had stopped bringing her flowers and then it was too late.
Like many of us, Craig gives his best at work, and then there’s not much left for the family in the evening.
Stop somewhere near to home – a park would be wonderful, a garden or even sitting in a parking lot would work. Take ten minutes for yourself. This is your time to collect your thoughts and regroup BEFORE you greet your family.
Walk or sit quietly. Breathe deeply, in and out, for a few minutes. Reflect on your day and let it go. Now reflect on your family and how important they are to you. Imagine walking through the door and greeting them happily, sweeping them into your arms for a warm hug.
Continue home. Walk in the door and do as you had imagined. You will have a happy and fulfilled evening rather than a tired and grumpy one. You’ll sleep better.
Guess what? You will enjoy your family at their best too!
Commit to taking ten minutes for yourself BEFORE you get home.
Let go of the tension. Focus on the important things in life. Remind yourself of the love you have to give. Now you are ready to greet your family.
Let me know how it goes…