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STARTERS – OR THE MAIN COURSE?

Choosing from the Menu of Life

A long, long time ago in a previous life I was a doormat. I know it’s hard to believe. But I was raised to be polite, respectful and helpful and put the needs of others before mine. Somehow I muddled up those messages and mistook them for a need to say ‘yes’; to please and comply.

Things have changed somewhat over the last 25 years or so. First I got comfortable with the fact that it was ok to look after my needs, I started standing up for myself, and then I got comfortable to say ‘no’. Like, very comfortable.

For those of you who know me well and read my blog, you’ll know that I found it tough leaving an established coaching practice in South Africa & starting up all over again in Singapore. Ok, tough is a euphemism. But of course, I have been coached to within an inch of my life. So I really know what drives me. I’m incredibly conscious of my beliefs, values, goals and strategies. And I do my best to make sure my personal and professional behaviour reflect that. In fact I’m so conscious of who I am and what I want that over the past few months, I found myself desperately wanting to say ‘yes’ – just for a change.

Hence I’ve turned down 3 job offers this year. One of which would be my dream job if I ever wanted to move back into permanent corporate employment. Excuse me whilst I shudder  ….  Which is why I said no. The other two ? Well let’s just say that the growth/value/freedom/innovation /remuneration equation didn’t quite balance the way I would have liked it to. There were bits missing. And I just don’t do missing bits anymore.

Just like I don’t coach someone with whom I don’t have rapport. Just like I have also turned down work this year that was cleverly disguised as coaching, but in reality was probably counselling dressed in a beautiful Armani suit.

So, I really, really wanted to say ‘yes’ for a change. I wanted more business. I wanted the right business.  I also really wanted to say ‘yes’ to a few organizations in particular. It happened one Friday afternoon a couple of weeks ago – I got to say ‘yes’ five times in one afternoon.

Looking back, what did I learn ? Sure, it reinforced the principle that sometimes you have to say no to say yes.

But … there was something else …

I know that when something is completely aligned to my values and goals, it’s easy for me to say yes. It just slips out. No analytical thought, discussion or consideration is necessary. I just know !

Here’s something else I know – I’m going to have to keep saying ‘no’ to say ‘yes’, because I love saying yes. It’s no longer even a shadow from my past. It is the result of having done so much self-awareness work, and so much professional work that acting out of integrity and courageous authenticity is the only way I can make decisions.

So, if you find yourself vacillating , going round and round with decisions, not knowing if you really want something, my advice would be to return to your core. Figure out who you are, what is meaningful for you and what you really, really want. Then start practicing how to say ‘no’ to the iffy things life offers you – so that one day you can say ‘yes’ to the items on the menu of life that really matter to you.

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DO YOU SEE A GREEN GIRAFFE?

At this time of year, when you are plotting your course, and determining what your specific, measurable objectives are, be aware of what it is that you focus on.

Some of you may have heard that our brain ‘does not do negatives’. Whilst that statement is factually incorrect, it gives us a clue as to how our brain does work. What it does, is it focuses where we point it. So, as you set your Organisational and Personal Objectives, be aware of where you are pointing your brain.

 Because it is the time of year that many companies refine their business plans, I have facilitated a number of strategy sessions over the last couple of weeks. These sessions are no different to facilitating or coaching an individual to set their goals. It’s all about focussing on what you want – not what you don’t want.

 Aiming to reduce staff absenteeism by 15% is still focussing on absenteeism i.e. what you don’t want. Setting a goal of not being ill shines the spotlight on your illness. It’s like asking you not to think of a green giraffe. Where does your attention go? To the green giraffe of course. Our brain goes in the direction that we point it.

 So point your brain in a positive direction. Focus on those things that you DO want, not what you don’t want. When you know where you want to go your attention will take you there. 

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For all of you who would like to ‘direction-alise’ your brains for optimal success, I am holding my annual Vision Workshop on the 19th February. It’s a half day workshop (from 08h00 – 13h00), including breakfast and you’ll walk away with specific, measurable goals, an action plan to achieve them and a beautiful Vision Board to remind you of where you are going.

 This workshop is also available as a Corporate Initiative, simply contact me to discuss your needs and I’ll tailor it specifically for you.

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