Senior Executives…All Alone

I have decided to feature some other bloggers from time to time.  Today I have featured South East Coaching Services blog post from the beginning of January this year as it strikes a chord with me.

I was recently speaking with a Senior Executive from a local organisation. Our conversation moved to Life and Executive Coaching and of course the usual question; “what’s that all about?”. I set about explaining the concept of Coaching and when I finished he paused for a while and then said “I could do with that”. Of course I was thrilled to have a new client, but I was really amazed by his reason for opting to be coached.

He said that the position he holds (Managing Director) is an extremely lonely place, particularly in the current climate. He said that his staff were turning to him for security, the Board was putting him under pressure for the performance of the business and then he said the most shocking words I have heard in a long while; “Who does the MD turn to?”

This got me thinking. In the current economic climate, many senior executives are under pressure from all sides; staff want reassurances regarding job security, Boards want to see the business survive, maintain efficiencies, cut costs and make a profit and it falls to the senior executives to make it happen. With such pressure, it can be easy to lose focus or even to burn out. This is the last thing any organisation wants.

There is a solution though; Executive Coaching and NLP. Coaching is a process that enables clients to take stock of their current situation (both in their private and working lives) and to re-focus and take control of their situation in a very proactive and effective way. NLP is a process that assists in meeting the desired outcomes by identifying barriers or obstacles (particularly unconscious ones) that are holding the client back.

Through the process, clients can set a new course that will ensure a new energy, greater awareness and openness to possibilities as well as a much more positive approach to the task at hand.

Basically the Coaching process will keep executives at all levels at the top of their game, which will have a positive impact on everyone in the organisation. We all know that if the boss is happy, everyone can be happy, right?

It is more common to hire a business coach to help analyse operational issues. However, companies should also begin to look at bringing in Life & Executive Coaches for their staff (particularly those in management).

South East Coaching Services can help. With considerable commercial experience, who better will understand the pressures that today’s executives are experiencing. Using the Coaching and NLP techniques, you can retain your staff, improve performance and look to the future with confidence. Senior managers work hard, but they should have somewhere they can turn to when the going gets tough and the pressure becomes too much to handle.

Should you wish to contact Denis here are his details:



mobile (+353) 085 1777951


V – Vanquish your Vagueness


Vanquish your Vagueness

Are you one of those people who when asked something says “Mmm…..we’ll see” or “Let me think about that” or “Can I get back to you about that?” and promptly file it in your “Let’s Forget All About It box”, because you don’t want to make a decision?  You might be afraid that you’ll make the wrong choice and won’t be able to correct it.  Or perhaps you feel you might be roped into something

Do you dither on decisions?

that you won’t be able to get out of later.  Maybe the very thought of someone thinking anything negative about you sends you into mental turmoil, so you dither between saying yes or no.  If you say yes, they’ll like you but you’ll have to do something you’d much rather not, on the other hand if you say no they won’t like you anymore.

Or perhaps you are the type of person who knows that you want more from life, but when asked what that more is says “I don’t know” get that uncomfortable feeling deep inside and look for something to distract you from it?.  Maybe you’re not happy with your life and when asked to be specific you don’t have an answer, because you really don’t know.  And you really don’t know because you haven’t been asked the correct questions to be able to find out.  You are not asking yourself the correct questions and mostly others are not asking the correct questions either.  And what is worse is, when someone does ask the correct questions you feel so uncomfortable that you shield yourself from them and change the subject or give very vague wishy-washy answers.  And quite possibly you are vague because you don’t want to appear as if you don’t know, when that is exactly what is appearing.

I used to fall into the category of not wanting to do something but wanting to be liked, and then feeling I couldn’t say no.  So I’d get roped into doing things that I really, really didn’t want to do.  And the way I dealt with that was turn up late, completely unprepared

Doing a bad job is more annoying than doing no job!

and then do the task badly, in the hope that I wouldn’t get asked to do anything again.  All the while hoping (unrealistically) that the person who asked me would be able to mind-read my reluctance and say that it was okay, they’d get someone else to do it.   Of course I rarely got asked to do something a second time.   I also didn’t realise until much, much later that it had a much more negative impact on how that person saw me and it did exactly what I didn’t want it to do – they got annoyed with me and liked me less as a result.  Over time  my circle of friends grew smaller and I wondered what I was doing wrong, but would distract myself with other things so as not to have to find the answers within me, it was easier to blame them as needy people who couldn’t just be friends just for the sake of it.

The turning point for me on this was when my middle child was about nine.  Herself and her older brother wanted to go somewhere and needed me to bring them.  At the time money was tight, but this event was affordable.   I was always conscious keeping some money back for “the unexpected disaster” and I was very wary of agreeing to something only to have to back out at a later stage which would have built up their hopes and then dashed them, yet I didn’t want to say no outright, so I said “we’ll see”  to my son when he asked about it.   He walked away and I was outside the room when he was telling his sister what I’d said

Vagueness vanquished with a decision

and she replied in a disappointed voice “that means, NO!, she only says that when she doesn’t want to say no to something”.   And in that moment I made the decision that I would bring them to the event.  I vanquished the vagueness I had of disappointing others because of my fear of rejection.

As a result of that, I learnt it was easier to make other decisions too.  I stopped dithering about other things in my life and started to make changes.  I walked away from some situations and people who were not good for me and make strides outside my then comfort zone that helped me to develop into the person I am today.   There are times when I still don’t give a direct yes or no to someone, but now when I say “can I get back to you on that, I need to check on some other things first?” it is because I really don’t know right then if I can do what they are asking of me and later I do get back to them with a definite yes or no.

Don’t Force It…Live In The Moment

I was supposed to blog again yesterday – if I’m to follow my  plan of blogging every three days.  I didn’t and for a variety of reasons.  One was I completely forgot about it.  I was busy with other things and my mind was not on blogging, so it didn’t get done.  By the time I remembered it was late at night and I was tired, so I said “to hell with it, it will do tomorrow!”  And my blog and I have survived.  Then I woke up today with the realisation that I wouldn’t have time to blog today until late in the afternoon or early evening because I had a full day.  I started to worry that maybe I would let the blogging slip and wondered would this be a the start of  a slide on “other” things too.  And then I stopped and realised that sometimes we can become stuck in a habit for the wrong reasons.

I started to blog because I had something to say that I thought others might like to hear, and for the most part I’ve been lucky, they have.  When I meet people who have been following my blog for the first time they usually comment on how they enjoy it and that is great to hear.  Some of what I’ve written has annoyed or amused or stirred other emotional reactions and that is a nice side-effect of my blogs – it gets a reaction.  But when it gets to the stage where I blog because I said I’d have to do it and I have no content or thoughts to share then it becomes a useless ramble.   So taking a day off now and again to re-charge the mental batteries and going at it again has a useful purpose.

Discipline is great, but sometimes we need to stop and take a breather, have a change of scenery or just  blow off steam.  And yesterday was my day to do it, with my blogging.  Today as it turned out was not as busy as had been expected, with last-minute cancellations on some events I suddenly find myself with a couple of hours free to write that I was struggling to find yesterday.  I’ve had time to enjoy being with my youngest child, catch up on some of the things I wanted to do but didn’t have time to, and now to catch up with my blog.  So, for now, I’m living in the moment and enjoying it as it comes.  In a while I will return to my schedule, but not for a while.

My New Year’s What?….

We are now into the third week of the new year and the new decade.  We’ve survived an extremely cold spell that lasted longer than was expected and provoked both good and bad reactions from the public.  Now that we are back to fairly normal January weather, the nation is counting the cost, in terms of water supply disruption, school closures, loss of working days and damaged

Already week 3

roads.  We’ve even managed to get past the “most depressing day of the year” which is what the second Tuesday of January has been labelled by some psychologists.  It was gone before I even realised I’d missed it, and I had had a really good day too.

It is also the time of year when all those bright and shiny, well-intentioned new year resolutions start to lose their shine and begin to look more like dull and boring chores than intentions.  And what is worse for some, their friends have taken to their resolutions with gusto and love them, find them enjoyable and interesting. So if you don’t like your’s, to quit might well make you feel like a loser.  And for those that don’t want to look like “they’ve talked the talk, but don ‘t walk the walk” there is a desperation to find a reasonable way to inject some enthusiasm, or a way of renewing the energy and vitality that had you choosing that resolution in the first place.  Others will just quit and not feel too good about themselves, adding yet “another failure” to their belt of “things I’d like to do, but didn’t finish”.  So sit down and redo your list, only this time change the heading from resolutions to GOALS

So with that in mind I’ve listed some ideas to inject some enthusiasm back into your goals.

1.  Write down what you hoped to achieve by doing this.

There’s is absolutely no point in having a goal just for the sake of it, there has to be a benefit for you in it.  If it is something that you are giving up, list the benefits that will come from that. Focus on all the positive things that will result in it.

2. Break it down into steps.

stepping stones towards your goal

Anything is achievable if it is broken down into small manageable steps. Break your goal down into steps and give each step an end-date.  This way your end goal has stages a bit like steps on a ladder reaching to your destination.

3. Look at where you’ve moved to.

So often when we have a goal we look only at the outcome, and what we have to give up or do without to achieve them.  We often ignore the smaller stepping-stones to it.  At each stepping stone, acknowledge that you’ve moved forward and reward yourself with something that has nothing to do with your goal at all.

4. Make yourself accountable.

If you are one of those people who finds doing things you don’t like hard (and truth be told that is most of the world’s population) then enlist a buddy.  A buddy is someone to hold you accountable, to whom you would turn to for moral support when you find the going tough and to remind you to reward yourself when you finish a stage.

5. See yourself having achieved your goal.

See yourself as the “new you”, the person who has succeeded in completing their goal.  Listen to the people around you congratulate

See yourself reaching your goal

you, notice how proud of yourself you are.  Every time you feel like quitting, remind yourself of this, it will help to revive your energy to finish.

It is normal when going through a process of change to want to give up at some stage of it.  We find the going tough, but that is simply a test to see how serious we are about reaching that goal.  We often don’t want to go back to where we were either and can become stuck in a rut.  The feeling of failure of an unfinished goal only leads to negative emotions and limiting decisions, reinforcing self-doubt.  So instead follow the five steps above each and every time you feel your goals become a burden and inject renewed vigour into them.

Why Do We Laugh At Other’s Misfortune?

I  saw a video link on Facebook the other day about a televison news item and the dangerous icy conditions.  It showed a man slipping and banging his head off the ground.  The responses to the video were generally:  “ha ha ha so glad that wasn’t me making a fool of myself” and other similar comments.  Three of my friends had posted this video and I commented on all three posts that I

Slipping on ice on your behind might be funny, but banging your head off the ground isn't!

didn’t think it was funny at all.  I encouraged the posters (and respondants to add forty years to the age of the poor man and see if they still would laugh).  One respondant has un-friended me after refuting my post and maintains their position that  someone else’s misfortune is indeed – in their eye’s – funny, nice concept – I wonder would they feel the same if their fortune were to suddenly take a nosedive and everyone else found it funny?   The other two posts have similar comments that it is funny.  I then posted the video link with the following quote from a contact of mine above it in a bid to see how others would react to it:

“Any time you see something laughable look again, you are looking at a repressed/dissociated part of yourself.  If people laugh they are laughing at themselves.  We don’t have issues with and react externally to the traits which we have accepted, integrated and loved in ourselves, when we understand that we all have all the human traits and any judgement is self-judgement.”

It seems to have hit the nerve I thought it would and got the following responses:

“Hahahaha! We are evil laughing at him but so funny! I bet he regrets going for that walk! lol”,

“Ah please don’t take self help so seriously. Laughter and humour is a great source of medicine. The guy was ok,sure didn’t he get up. I’m laughing and having a good laugh at myself too, if that makes you happier!!! Sure I’ll probably fall on my arse to morrow and that will be Karma!!”

“I think the lesson here is, if you must fall spectacularly just make sure you don’t do it on the telly!! I’ll be giving camera crews a very wide berth personally – I was never very good on me’ feet”.

Now had the guy landed on his backside I could see the funny side of it, but to laugh at someone losing their balance on packed ice and knocking their head off that ice is in my honest opinion not even remotely funny.  It’s got nothing to do with self-help and taking it seriously, it’s got nothing to do with making a fool of yourself in public either, I don’t think he did make a fool of himself.  It has

Many falls on ice result in broken bones regardless of age

everything to do with the basic concern for the welfare for another human being’s misfortune.  Part of my concern arises from the fact that my brother’s partner broke his arm slipping on ice on Christmas Day and two other friends have broken limbs since then doing the exact same thing and they are all my age or younger and packed ice is dangerous and not everyone can avoid going out in it all the time.  It has gotten me thinking about laughing at other people’s misfortune and why we do it.  I agree with the quote above.  Everything we react to – not just laughter – is a mirror of what we are experiencing, so on a subliminal level we see ourselves falling, others laughing at us and to cover up our embarrassment at feeling foolish we also laugh!  Unless of course you don’t see yourself falling, or don’t feel foolish, in which case your reason to laugh is gone.

The same principle can be applied to when we get annoyed.  When someone annoys you, look inside you to find what is causing that annoyance.   No, I’ve not completely lost my mind!  They are simply reflecting back at you a part of yourself that you don’t like, which is why you are having such a strong reaction to it, you unconsciously recognise that part of you, try to ignore it, but it niggles away at you and doesn’t go away, hence you get annoyed with the trigger – the other person.  That for so many people is a really hard

What part of you is being "mirrored" back at you in someone else?

pill to swallow.  They see something horrific like a murder reported on the television and react to it.  Then they read this and say “I’m NOTHING like that, I’d NEVER murder anyone like they did!!!” And maybe they wouldn’t, but they have accepted in another part of their life the same boundary crossing on something else.  A perfect example of this was a woman who said she couldn’t abide violence, yet extremely violent people kept coming into her life.  She was a peace  loving person and found these people quite annoying and disturbing.  When probed on where in her life extreme violence was acceptable, she at first said “nowhere” and when questioned even further, it turned out that she often thought about what she would do if anyone threatened (not actually attacked) her children and she said she would kill without a second thought!!  She was stunned to find that she had such extreme violent plans for an event that might never happen.  So at an unconscious level she was quite prepared to accept violence but didn’t like it and was attracting it to her and it was annoying her.

So when someone annoys you, say “Thank You” and go off and ask yourself “where else in my life do I accept this type of boundary being crossed?” Back to the person who unfriended me, I wonder what part of themself was reflected in me that they don’t like and will they thank me for exposing it?  I won’t hold my breath!!!

Seriously! It’s ONLY Snow!!!

So it’s been snowing on and off for over a week now.  The country is at a standstill – almost and all the foreign nations that get this type of snow for two to three months every year are having a laugh at our expense.  For the first four days of this really, really cold, bone-chilling weather – which in retrospect was quite warm, I holed up in the house and kept myself amused with the social media

We haven't had snow like this in 28 years

sites I’m a member of, did a bit of reading, and slept a lot and at odd hours too.  Then I got bored – enough of the snow, time for a different season, for Pete’s sake we often get all four in one day, can we have that back – NOW! Please?????

My son started his new job on 4th January, same company, different department and I promised I’d drive him into work .  This served two purposes, 1) saved him having to get the train so he could have a lie in and  2) it would get me out of the house, where I  was starting to feel the effects of cabin-fever.  So despite the snow we all got up early and I drove from Newbridge to Inchicore to drop him into work and I was not particularly surprised to see the roads improve as we got closer to Dublin city.  What did surprise me was the beautiful sight of the views to the left and right were and both my daughters oohed and aahed at it all –  all the way to Dublin. My youngest had been bitterly disappointed with our snow quality – it was powdery and not the best snow for snowman building, but she was amazed at the coverage on all the hilly areas we passed and quite a bit jealous of those who got good quality snow and could make snowmen.

Like most people I thought this cold spell would last at most a week and it reminded me of the heavy snow fall back in 1982 when it fell in feet rather than inches.  I was a teenager then and had lots of fun with snowball fights and building snowmen and making

Snowball fights were fun

skating patches for us to slide along.  Now twenty-eight years later I feel the cold in every finger and toe and the idea of a snowball landing anywhere on me makes me shudder with imagined cold trickling down my neck.  I’ve listened to people complaining about the lack of preparation of our government, the lack of action when they realised that what they had “hoped” wouldn’t happen, did happen and all the while the ordinary people in general did nothing but moan and groan.  Back in 1982, we were all out with shovels and spades and clearing the patches in front of our houses.  I lived on a main road so we (my brothers, sister and I) had quite a big patch to clear, despite the complaints from teenagers having to actually move off the couch we managed to make it a fun thing to do, forget snowballs, try a shovel full of soft snow being fired at you!  And it gathered momentum, other people did the same.  We all worked together to help each other.

Now I’m not spouting the “good auld times” we were in a chronic recession then too, money was tight and people worked hard.  But the one thing they did do that just doesn’t seem to be happening now, was get off their backsides and clear the path where they lived, and nearly everyone helped out.  When there is a gathering of people doing the one task it develops a camaraderie and team spirit, the job gets done quicker, the willingness to help those who are slower is shown

Neighbours clearing away snow

and often neighbours will offer tea and coffee for the hard workers.  And afterwards there is usually the fun of a snowball fight on the grass or if that isn’t possible,  snowman building competitions.  People feel better for having done something good, they are also getting the benefit if fresh (albeit cold ) clean air, and it cures the cabin-fever that a lot of people are now complaining about.

I don’t have the proper clothes for this weather.  I’ve no Wellington or snow boots and no thermals either!  But I do have lots of light clothes and it is recommended to wear lots of light layers rather than one thick one.  I have cleared my driveway and will have to do it again and again.  I have no gloves but my older daughter has lots of pairs and I do have the latex gloves like the medicinal ones that I can use to keep my hands dry (even if not warm) under her gloves while I do work.  I have plastic bags to put over my shoes to keep my feet dry and can and do borrow some of my son’s track suit trousers to wear over my own to work in.  And I look a sight!!  As I said before I don’t have a shovel to clear the snow, I do have a spare brush and a biggish sheet of hard board and plenty of screwdrivers for the really difficult bits.  It’s cold hard work, but it clears my

Have snowman building competitions afterwards

driveway and it gets me outside.  It also means I’m doing some exercise a secondary benefit that will help shift the extra pounds that were added over Christmas and New Year and likely to be added to if I sat indoors looking out and doing nothing.

So how about you organising a party of neighbours to clear your patch?  Are you going to sit and moan or are you going to do something about it?  Make an afternoon of it!  Materials required: Willingness to get involved, Wellington boots (or plastic bags), shovels and spades to break up and move the ice and snow, screwdrivers, (football boots with the studs attached) to chip away at the awkward bits, warm clothes and a group of volunteers with tea and coffee to warm up the hard workers.  I’ve even heard of an estate where they suggested a street party, good idea!  So stop complaining about the weather, the lack of action of the officials in charge and take charge yourself and do something!!

Why New Year Resolutions Won’t Work

Think about it, every December you get asked “What new year resolutions do you intend making for next year?”  and if you are like the majority out  there you will inwardly groan and probably trot out a standard resolution that you hear being spouted by nearly

New Year resolutions

everyone else!  But then you do actually start to think of  all the things you should change.  You might need to lose weight, stop smoking, earn more money, get out of debt, have a good relationship, take up a college course or do a night class in the hopes of getting a promotion or even a job.  And then you decide that you’ve far too many items on your list and you couldn’t possibly do all of them, they’d all take up far too much of your time and your hard-earned cash and so you pick the hardest one or two of them and decide that if you get even one of them done, well you’ll have made some progress!  Sound familiar?

Of course none of them will happen!  You might get started on one or two of them and with a great deal of gusto too, great plans and lots of motivation.  Give it a week or two and the motivation starts to slid off, gain pace until it comes to a complete stop!  You are not seeing the weight loss you wanted to see as fast as you wanted to see it, or all the food you eat tastes like cardboard, you sniff longingly as someone smoking passes you and have to make a fist in your pocket so as not to grab the cigarette from them – and you don’t know what to do with your hands anymore, you have a very, very short fuse, a nasty cough and everyone is avoiding you like the plague, this used not happen when you smoked!  The government has introduced more ways to take your money from you so your income is lower, the dole queue is growing, who is going to give you a second job when there are unemployed people out there, and you’d rather stay in the job you have than risk a better paid job that might not last the probation period!  You’ve been on a few nights out already and the same old

All the things I SHOULD do!

faces keep cropping up and they are either already in relationships looking for a little extra on the side – so not available, or they don’t meet the criteria you have stored in your head and much as you’d like a new relationship it’s just gotta be worth the effort.  The college course costs more than you expected or doesn’t start until September. The night class again costs more that you thought or is not being held locally and you’ll have to travel, or the times don’t suit.   So before you know it you are back to where you were at the end of December only now you are slightly annoyed with yourself.  Add that to the mix and its little wonder we start to avoid new year resolutions.

Think of all the reasons why you make a resolution.  What are you gaining from it?  What will it cost you, in time, effort and money?  How are you phrasing your resolution? Most of the resolutions we decide upon involve some sort of lack.  Either we are going to lose weight, give up smoking, spend more time exercising (giving up our free time), get out of debt (curb our spending) go to college or night classes (again giving up our free time).  When we decide to do that we have already started to self-sabotage our progress because we have encountered something that we have to do without in order to gain and we concentrate on what we have to give up a lot more than on our gain, because we can feel the lack now, the gain is some time in the future, it’s certainly not now!!

So instead of making new year resolutions decide on outcomes or goals that you would like to achieve by a set date.  Set out the steps required to get there.  Ask yourself if you have ever achieved this before, or something similar to this before, or has someone you know done it?  If so think back to the steps you took then to achieve it, or ask that somebody what steps they took and implement them yourself.  If it is something you’ve done before and not finished ask yourself what it was that stopped you?  Was it a limiting belief  or a series of them that you have had about yourself so that when you started to make progress your old limiting belief reared its ugly head and taunted you into quitting before you made real progress?  Take note of that belief and question the truth of it.  Ask

The STEPS to baking a cake

yourself what  important changes need to happen within you for you to successfully achieve your goals, write them all down so you now have an idea of what you need to overcome and can decide which to overcome first.  Do up an action plan of your goal.

It’s a lot like baking a cake really.  You decide you want to bake say a madeira cake, so you buy a book with the recipe in it, you then make a list of the ingredients and bakeware required and go buy/borrow them, then you clear your workspace, follow the recipe instructions step by step and you find you have made up your cake mix, put it into a cake tin and put it in the oven to bake, after the alloted time you take it out and you have a madeira cake!.  Your goals are achieved following the very same principle of baking a cake after you have overcome all the obstacles you have put in your way.