An interesting phrase 'Self Improvement" ...
What 'self' is being improved and why??
I guess it can mean being a better person, learning something new, accomplishing more, or simply figuring out how to better enjoy the life you have.
I saw a post on Facebook which announced something along the lines of "I need a change in my life soon because I'm sick and tired of this same old routine every day"
Who of us hasn't felt something like that at some time or another?
I suppose the first thing to do is work out what are we 'sick' about - the routine itself; the demands that routine is making on our lives?
The next thing to consider is, perhaps.how much of that routine is the result of choice and how much is beyond your scope of control?
If we're really honest with ourselves there will be much of "the routine that makes us sick' is because of choices we either made or did not make at some point in our past.
We work and need to bring in money, to pay the bills for things we have chosen to 'have' at some point in the past.
We believe we have no other choices in how we can pay those bills, and we can't immediately unchoose the house, family, the lifestyle we aspired too - so we are 'trapped' in a life we have, at some point, decided is less than what we want now.
Perhaps taking responsibility for the reality of past choices, and being specific about what we want is the first step into 'self-improvement'.
Of course, there are things which affect our lives that are genuinely beyond our control and influence - and perhaps we need to consider how we can view these differently and stop beating our heads against the walls that we haven't built.
If life is shit, consider what you can do to change it ... kinds simple I guess.
Here's an interesting set of "measures for personal development" that might help focus your thoughts...
Each one of these dimensions is something we can do something about ...
Think in terms of improving (or developing) some of these dimensions...
Intellectual - study, developing thinking skills, or otherwise improving the mind.
Physical - becoming stronger, faster, fitter - developing stamina
Acquiring Talents - unlike the previous two items, which are relatively general, talents might have both a mental and physical component but are really about doing a distinctive thing. Learning how to juggle, for instance, or playing an instrument, or learning an art or craft.
Organizational - cleaning, decluttering, time management - develop systems and processes to organise yourself
Interpersonal - connecting. Improving the quality of relationships, from the most casual of co-workers to the most significant of others.
Experiential - seeking out new sensations and experiences. This could be as involved as international travel, or as simple as savouring a pleasant aroma.
Removal - getting rid of bad habits, or reducing negative effects on your life. Clearing the physical, emotional and spiritual clutter.
These are based on the 7th Paths to Self Development by Aaron Rath
What would happen if you gave yourself score out of ten for each of these dimensions (10 meaning that you'd totally 'cracked' that facet of your life)?
Would such an assessment help you consider how you could bring about change?
One of the core presuppositions within NLP is that 'all of the resources we need are inherent in our own physiology' and, on one level this idea can raise the question as to why anyone might seek the support of a coach - life, work or otherwise.
But the key here is that we may not recognise those resources and abilities we have.
Often we are too close to our own stuff to see our way through; we are in the forests of our lives and can't see the trees.
Coaching is a process as well as a tool.
Most of the world's most successful people – from athletes to business people – have coaches and they engage others to help them in a number of ways.
1) To Find Direction - we can drift through life without much of a plan, not really knowing where we're heading. A coach can change all of that by helping you really focus and figure out your purpose, vocation or goal. - and then work with you to set out a step by step plan of action.
2) Doing Things More Effectively - a coach can help you get serious about the success you deserve to have, and motivate you to use the what you have in the most effective way. They can encourage you to identify the skills you have and identify areas for improvement
3) To be your 'Accountability Partner' -we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to making excuses and putting things off, a coach can help deal with procrastination. When we're only answerable to ourselves, it's too easy to say "I'll do it tomorrow" – and we all know tomorrow never comes! A coach is there to a kind of conscience, providing a supportive nudge in the right direction and sometimes demanding answers when we let ourselves down.
4) From A - B with out a detour through C.D & E - a coach can save you the stress of having to figure all out everything on your own. The benefit of your coach's knowledge and experience, plus the step-by-step plan they can help you to build, can help you gain a real edge in terms of personal and professional development
5) To be a motivator - if we've been moving along on our own for a while, it's easy to become demotivated and lose confidence in our own abilities. A couch will help you re-focus on your successes, plans and possibilities.
6) To notice blind spots - we can all be guilty of ignoring our own faults, and more interestingly not spotting those patterns which cause us to falter. A coach will help identify those blocks and 'invisible' sabotage tactics that we have developed for ourselves.
In short a Coach has a professional view of your personal and professional success. They work with you to create plans; refine behaviours and shape attitudes which allow you to achieve those things YOU define as being goals and targets.
It's interesting how people may not have a problem in hiring a 'trainer' to help them get 'into better physical shape' but will question paying for a business or personal 'coach' to help them in other areas of their life. The truth of the matter is that almost every successful individual; every high-performer, has worked with a mentor or a coach for part (or possibly) most of their journey.
.“A coaching culture exists in an organization when a coaching approach is a key aspect of how the leaders, managers, and staff engage and develop all their people and engage their stakeholders, in ways that create increased individual, team, and organizational performance and shared value for all stakeholders.”
The challenge is, then, how do we set about creating a coaching culture?
Here are some key considerations ...
How does a Coaching Approach fit alongside the following considerations:- Strategic Planning – and how goals will shift over time
Teams – the staff and the tasks you are asking them to undertake
Culture – current organizational culture and attitudes
Finances – how this will affect the planning and developmental cycles Challenges – in terms of strategy, compliance, succession, operations, reputation
Coaching is NOT a quick fix for organisational crises – it is a commitment to the development of the people within your teams, which in turn creates stronger business infrastructure.
Adopting a Coaching Management and Leadership Style and work ethos has been shown to...
• Improve Communication
• Improve working relationships
• Develop team and individual potential
• Support succession planning
• Create empowering performance management processes
• Encourage Innovation
• Manage change
• Improve organisational reputation and standing
Some simple steps in creating a coaching culture in an organisation..
1) COMMUNICATION - ensure that everyone is aware of the motivations for wishing to adopt a coaching based approach. This means that everyone will need to understand the context and well as having a shared understanding of what Coaching.
2) TRANSPARENCY - making sure that the steps towards the implementation of coaching processes and practices are clearly stated and understood. All change management requires this transparency of process as well as the willingness of the management/leadership to allay and deal with 'fear'.
3) FINDING THE MODEL - agreeing not only on a Coaching Model or Framework that is understood by all; but considering HOW in practice the specific model will be introduced.
4) TRAINING - explore the training and personal development needs of those who will be involved in the coaching process.
5) STAGED INTRODUCTION - a planned, gradual introduction of the agreed process. It may be that the process begins with leadership teams; then those who are line-managed by those leaders and finally all members of the organisation. How the coaching process is introduced and enacted will define its success.
Coaching is not about 'being done to' but about being 'a part of'.
If you would like to receive a booklet covering the Creation of a Coaching Culture, then please sign-up to my occasional mailing list - HERE
This short volume offers some thoughts and ideas about exploring the notion of a Coaching Culture; the practical considerations, coaching frameworks and some thoughts about key coaching tools. Hopefully there will be sufficient information within the60 pages or so for you to consider if a coaching route is worth exploring for your organisation.
No they don't !!!!!
Ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand—they wouldn't be able to breathe! But they do dig holes in the dirt to use as nests for their eggs. Several times a day, a bird puts her head in the hole and turns the eggs. So it really does look like the birds are burying their heads in the sand!
So that's clear - they don't bury their heads in the sand!
However, it seems that Humans Do - and it's not just about prevarication, it's about ... well you tell me?
Burying one's head in the sand, is the metaphor we use to describe a behaviour that is, in effect, refusing to consider change or refusing to consider a particular situation.
If I can't see, it doesn't exist!
Well that seems to be the reasoning.
A study published in the Social and Personality Psychology Compass Journal (2013) suggests that people are actively motivated to avoid information.
The studies author Dr Thomas Webb from Sheffield University said:
"The ostrich problem is the idea that there are times when people would rather not know how they're doing."
'Avoiding monitoring may allow people to escape from negative feelings associated with an accurate appraisal of progress.
'For example, people might not want to know how much money they have spent or what their partner thinks of their social skills."
He called this behaviour 'motivated inattention.'
In NLP there is a presupposition that EVERY behaviour has a positive intent for the individual, and it according to Dr Webb 'motivated inattention' is a way to avoid negative feelings, often of guilt, which accompany being presented with reality.
'The ostrich problem is the idea that there are times when people would rather not know how they're doing. Avoiding monitoring may allow people to escape from negative feelings associated with an accurate appraisal of progress.'
In a previous study (2012) it was noted that...
...only 10 per cent of people who worry about their finances daily check their bank balance at least once a month.
...there was a high incidence of people with diabetes avoiding monitoring their blood glucose.
The notion that 'ignorance is bliss' is perhaps, in our terms, a limiting belief system. After all, if you are not willing to look at the patterns of change around you or a situation which needs a difficult decision, then you are not really taking an active part in your own life.
Susan Davids book, Emotional Agility, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life, makes a related point about positive thinking. She suggests that positive thinking could be just another way of 'burying your head in the sand'.
As I explore in my forthcoming book, The Secret to Your Future History, affirmations and positivity can be 'plasters' and not solutions to any personal situation.
Susan David talks about a 'positive thinking rut' which can actually stop us looking at the nature of change around us, and stop us from 'taking control' and 'making active choices' in our own lives.
So if you are in danger of being that 'Ostrich' here's some tips...
a) LOOK at your emotions and consider those that you resist looking at. Your emotions are important, how you manage them especially so. Learn to be present and notice what is happening around you.
b) STAND BACK, try to take a 3rd Person look at what is going on around you. Be an observer of your situation and reactions. Notice any repeating patterns, any less than useful behaviours.
c) REFLECT upon the bigger picture of your goals, dreams and ambitions. Having a broader perspective may actually help you frame more empowering choices.
d) ACT, make some clear choices, take some considered action in order to put yourself in the driving seat of your own life. In some ways there are choices you can make about whether you are always being tossed around on the stormy seas of life , or whether you are sailing towards a calmer harbour.
Over the last three days I have shared some Tips for Change, yet all these will remain as simply tips or 'ideas' unless you start to ground them into some kind of action.
As mentioned in the post about Getting Out of Your Own Way one of the challenges we face when engaged in 'personal change' and 'development' is the potential conflict between the YOU NOW and the YOU TOMORROW. Of course setting targets and creating a future vision of yourself is important, but being kind to the 'old you' that is being transformed is also important.
A useful technique is to create a personal charter for development.
Start with a set of aspirational I AM statements.
Some of you may remember the boxer, Muhammed Ali. He had, what I would argue was one of the best personal mission statements ever....
"I AM THE GREATEST"
This wasn't some simple boast, it was an attitude.
He believed that:-
"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."
Affirmations aren't simply the fluffy words we say to ourselves, they are backed by solid, considered, planned actions. In Muhammed Ali's case it was his commitment to the training, which he hated, and paying meticulous attention to detail.
"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion"
He had a particular view a vision if you like, that motivated him always, and pushed him when necessary. He noted that ..
"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe".
We can be the pebbles in our own shoes - the blocks to our success.
We can be the ones that make our challenges tougher and our personal mountains higher and steeper.
The value of I AM statements is that they are not only aspirational, but will encompass values and inform behaviours.
For example ...
I AM dedicated to empowering others.
OK, so here it becomes obvious that there is a personal value or belief about empowerment and a desire to help others.
It also requires me to think about what kind of behaviours I would need to engage in in order to be that 'empowerment machine'
How do I actually relate to others?
How do I communicate their worth, not simply my own?
What do I physically do in order to be the I AM I want to be?
Ali's "I am the Greatest' was not an idle boast, but was backed by ACTION, DESIRE and COMMITMENT to what he thought made him 'The Greatest'.
Here's the point - it was HIS definition of 'GREATEST' and it was his actions in the world that made him so.
So, what would happen if you created a series personal I AM statements - remember these are aspirational, and then created a description of the behaviours that would reflect those statements.
I AM worthy of love
IAM a successful person
I AM inspiring change (in myself and others).
Of course, you have to be clear about what phrases like 'successful person'. worth of love' and 'inspiring change' mean to you.
Here's another thought...
These I AM statements allow you to create, for yourself, a personal MISSION STATEMENT that is based firmly within your belief and value system and informs your behaviours and interactions. I know of a number of people who have added such a personal mission statement to the top of their C.V.'s which has, in their cases, proven to be a successful thing to do.
Your I AM and PERSONAL MISSION statements inform your behaviours, and where necessary let them know what you stand for.
Dr Alan B JOnes
Director Inspire NLP