Tag Archives: coaching

Finding Meaning in your Work

It happens to all of us at some point in our lives, sometimes even on a regular basis…

We look around at ourselves, our job and how we are spending our time, and we ask ourselves;

What am I doing here, what’s the point?


We would all rather be relaxing on a tropical beach or adventuring up a remote mountain, but we all have responsibilities to meet and are doing the right thing, working hard, getting paid and moving forward with our lives as best we can. However, doing the best we can in the every day grind does not always satisfy us and give us meaning. Meaning comes from a personal feeling of achievement where we can reference ourselves to others or a situation from a position of personal success.

There are three simple things that we can do to allow ourselves to feel that success or meaning every day.

  1. Quantify your achievements daily. Find a task or set of tasks to complete, or goal to achieve every day. Make a point of writing it down in your diary and giving yourself a score out of 5 as to how satisfied you are with your achievement. The will-full completion of simple tasks consciously is a powerful way to program your subconscious for success and helps to create a positive spiral of self worth, achievement and meaning.
  2. Set a fun goal to achieve. You are working hard for your money, so set a simple goal to reward yourself for all that hard work. Start saving some of your hard earned cash for a weekend away with your friends or loved one, save for a new car stereo or BBQ, or new gym trainers. Something that can be achieved with in four to six months. Working towards and attaining that goal serves to deepen or spiral of achievement and meaning that yo started in point one.
  3. Set a realistic goal to become financially free. If necessary sit down with a financial planner and work out a schedule and course of action to follow to attain your financial freedom. Once you are debt free, life takes on new meaning and new purpose. Be prepared to shift your goals and expectations to the financially free option and you will be surprised at how much more motivation and meaning you have in your every day life!

Start today and prove to yourself how good you are!

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Reward Yourself

Imagine for a moment that you are a primitive hominid foraging in the wild, collecting edible fruits, berries, leaves. Always on the look out for danger, but right now the warm sun on your back is comforting, the wind in the trees is gently working with that warm sun to cause you to relax, to drop your guard. Everything in that moment is perfect, abundance of food, good weather, total freedom… Then… A huge predator, a sabre toothed cad bursts out of the bushes a few meters from you!

You run, committing every single resource and skill that you have to survive, zigzagging, jumping over boulders, ducking under branches totally unaware of various thorns and injuries you are incurring in your mad survival flight.

You find a tall tree and in a flash you are up in the lower branches, barely touching the branches as you scramble higher and higher. You get to a sturdy branch right at the top of this tall tree and stop. You feel the same warm sun shining on you, you are sore, scared, tired and elated.

You are alive, you feel alive, breath alive, think alive. In that moment you know that every single piece of knowledge and experience that you have gathered up until that moment has been applied and has allowed you to survive. Your continued existence re-enforces all that learning, experience and action.

Take a moment to look around you right now. Look at the co workers, the stuff on your desk, the phone in your hand, what ever it is. Realise that, just like your primitive ancestor, right now in this moment, every single piece of information, experience, understanding and belief that you have now and have ever experienced has brought you right to this point, right now. You are alive, you have survived and that is wonderful. Take a deep breath, reward yourself for being you, congratulate yourself for having the courage to come so far. Sit with that for a moment, suspend all judgement for a moment and just be you, alive on the planet – Well Done!

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Looking Deeper

Rank is but a Guinea Stamp, the man himself s the gold” Rudyard Kipling or Robert Burns

An interesting line from a piece of poetry called The Tyler’s Toast. I have heard that line many many times yet I never really listened to the words. Suddenly, the other day, while sitting in the blackout induced traffic, this very line started to repeat again and again in my mind. It made so much sense!

If we look around us at the economic and political turmoil, at the success and suffering of others on this wonderful planet of ours, one single truth stands out. That truth is; success, wealth, servitude and suffering are totally irrelevant to who we are. Our unique identity is encapsulated in the outer veneer of human experience.

During my time trading in Africa and the four years I spend exposed to incredible township poverty as a Twasa, I noticed that a lot of the time the people who have a huge impact on others are themselves experiencing that same discomfort or reduced circumstance as their peers, yet they choose to make a difference. I could fill your hard drive of cases like the old lady who turned her shack into a refuge for homeless old people, the high school children who took it upon themselves to teach the younger children when their teachers were on strike, the car guard who helps an elderly woman into her new BMW, the family who pays for their domestic workers education or the business man who buys the petrol attendant a cool drink on a hot day.

The next time you are having a bad day, when things are not going as you planned, take a moment to look around you, look at random people from all walks of life and social status and fantasize. Think of the possibilities of the good that they are quietly doing in the world. Scratch the surface in your imagination and see the children of the trash collector having supper, or the farmer in his bakkie collecting medication for a farm worker, the person next to you in the traffic with a surprise sweet or magazine for their child or loved one. Look around and enjoy the wonderful quirky nature of humanity and see if you can make a difference in your life by making a difference in some one else’s.

A simple smile can go a long way to helping us all have a better day!

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Your Ego

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.

G. K. Chesterton

What is your ego?

Have you ever observed the moment in time when your ego triggers?

Are you by any chance insecure or threatened in some what when your ego triggers…?

From this we can deduce that the famous gurus and spiritual teachers either only told us half the truth about ego, or that they have been conveniently miss interpreted. The goal of life is not to destroy the ego, the goal of life should be to befriend and cultivate the ego. Mold the ego into a positive survival force in our lives.

your ego is not a bad thing! The sole purpose of the ego is to keep you alive. It is an integral part of our subconscious, primitive survival response. Think of the ego as a viscous guard dog. You can either be afraid of the dog and regret times when the dog escapes and attacks people unnecessarily, or you can love the dog, feed it and care for it and enjoy the unquestioning loyalty of a beloved pet, knowing that the dog will protect you only when commanded to. The guard dog has no choice in the matter, it is just doing what it feels it needs to do to survive!

In most cases our ego triggers when we feel as if we have something to lose – either physical stuff, or social position, or our own sense of importance. The ego kicks in to try and prevent that loss. Remember that self worth, self identity and who we feel that we need to present ourselves as to the world out there are all integral aspects of the triggers that trip our individual ego responses. Each set of triggers and experiences are going to be unique to you.

To observe this and to start to choose more appropriate responses, try to implement the following;

  • When your ego triggers, back off for a moment and ask why?

  • Look for the physical thing that triggered the response (even being cut off in the traffic triggers an ego response!)

  • Ask yourself what you have to lose, or why you feel threatened in that space.

  • Is it actually important to you?

  • Why?

  • How would you like to respond in the future?

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When do I need help?

Why do we feel that if we ask for help, we are a failure?

Why do we expect ourselves to know everything?

An airline pilot undergoes years of intensive training and apprenticeship understudy systems before he / she is able to successfully fly you to your exotic holiday destination. No one expects an aspiring pilot to step out of his / her car and straight into the cockpit of a multi-million dollar air-plane.

Why then do we expect ourselves to be able to cope immediately and effectively with any and every diverse and complicated situation presented to us in life?

the first thing we need to accept is that there is no shame in asking for help or advice. We are all unique human beings living, for now on this proverbial spaceship called Earth. Each one of us has a wealth of knowledge and experience and our survival method is unique to us. Logic therefore dictates that if we are encountering a problem, then most likely someone in our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances is either going through a similar challenge, or has already successfully overcome a similar challenge.

Observe your actions and your outcomes and answer two very simple questions;

Is what I am doing working out for me in the way that I want it to?

Am I happy?

If your answer is YES, keep on doing what you are doing!

If your answer is NO, then look around you for someone who has achieved what you want to achieve. Approach that person and ask them how they did it!

If you are having problems with emotion, self worth depression, anger, or similar, first write down exactly what you are feeling and when you are feeling it, then approach a qualified professional.

There is no shame in asking for help, and the sooner you get the information you need to achieve what you want, the easier and more fun life becomes!

You can do it!

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Listening

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” Stehpen R. Covey

How often to you feel as if you have been heard?

How often do you understand what is being said to you?

Do we listen carefully, or do we listen to others and try to understand their perspective, or do we listen with the intention of being right?

The intricacies of verbal communication are dependent on culture, society, belief, emotion and perceived position. No wonder most of us don’t always say what we mean or hear with is being said!

Problems arise when our ability to speak and listen efficiently are compromised. In the moment of conversation, make a point of first listening to the words that people are saying, then analysing the context from which the words are coming. This should allow you to find a more stable meaning or intention behind the words.

If you have any doubts, ask the person to repeat what they have said, or like a good waitron in a restaurant, summarise what has been said and repeat it back to the person for clarity.

If you have the time, you can try to link listening to writing. Sometimes when I facilitate mediation between parties, I get one party (A) to speak, and the conflicting party (B) to write down exactly what is being said. Once this is done, the conflicting (B) party reads back what has been written, and corrections of meaning are made. Then the parties then swap roles.

This is a wonderful, non invasive, non conflicting way for people to work through potentially emotionally volatile negotiations or meditations and arrive at a meaningful outcome. The writing allows both parties to express themselves clearly and to listen carefully to what is being said, as well as facilitating greater understanding of what is intended.

This week, do your best to speak clearly, and think things through before you speak. Listen with intention to everything people are saying, then formulate your response. Take time to be clear and get clarity and you will reduce frustration and conflict!

Ask yourself:

What is being said?

Why is the information presented in this way?

How can I convey my meaning to others clearly?

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Tolerance

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.” Franklin D Roosevelt

Why is it so hard for us to engage each other in a peaceful and meaningful way?

Is your own opinion so important that you are willing to kill, but in most cases, not die for it?

In a world full of violence and strife, how can we move forward with peace, love and understanding, and still get what we want?

The first step to doing this is to truly understand who you are. Get inside your own psyche and understand the what, where and how of our decision making process.

In most cases, the decisions we make are based on information and experiences that we have already experienced and assimilated. we have a default attitude that if things have worked for us in the past, we should do them again in the same way.

This is fine and works well for us in extreme and or survival situations, but this default process is completely inappropriate when we become a functioning member of society. The paradoxical nature of a society (a collective to enhance security) diminishes our need for a survival response, yet instinctively we gravitate towards our old patterns when under pressure.

The greatest misconception prevalent in societies today is the concept that the majority is right. This notion removes personal conception and accountability, and is the reason so many heinous crimes have been, and are still being committed against societies that differ from that of the specific perpetrators.

It takes great courage to take a stand against what is wrong, and against the majority, yet there are many many people who do just that every day. If they can do it, so can you!

This week, ask yourself;

 

Is this action really what I want to do?

Why does “the other” frustrate me?

How do I feel in relation to others and why?

How would I like to act?

 

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Expectation

“I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine.” Bruce Lee

What is expectation?

Expectation (noun) – A strong belief that something will happen or be the case. A belief that someone will or should achieve something. (Oxford Dictionary online)

How often have you been disappointed in life?

Why were you disappointed?

If you take a moment to look at the last time you were disappointed, you will notice that your expected outcome or experience was not met and you were left with a sense of loss.

The reality is that every one will at some stage feel as if they are not able to meet some expectation, or that will feel as if their expectation has not been met. In all cases we want to be able to use expectation to our advantage, to allow expectation to drive us forward and motivate us.

What we want to do on these cases is to take a moment to understand our initial motivation to expect something (x). Then we can look at why we expected (x) in the first place!

This requires you to be honest with yourself!

Ask yourself why you either need to fulfill an expectation or were disappointed by an expectation not being met. What was than need within you that needed to be filled and was not?

Now ask yourself where that expectation came from. Is it a need or desire deep within you, or is it from society, culture, belief or some other source outside of yourself?

Once we have identified this, we can decide if that expectation is worth fulfilling or if we can drop it!

After processing expectation in this way for a while, your subconscious will automatically start to filter and fine tune your expectations for your benefit. Your expectation will become more of a motivation for you to achieve what ever goals you set for yourself easily and efficiently rather than something used to undermine and inhibit you. Let expectation be a wonderful too to help you to focus on your goals and achieve then so you can perpetually be the person that you want to be!

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Doing the Right Thing

Doing the Right Thing

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar s, and to God the things that are Gods” Jesus

How often have you tried to do the right thing, to be a good person, to help others, to make a difference in some one else’s life?

It feels good, and is the “right” thing to do! BUT…

What if the lines start to become blurred?

By observing the message expressed in the above quotation, one would be expected to pay all tax, no matter how unjust it is!

What if you are an ardent supporter of South Africa’s E-tolls, and your opponent is not?

Is it not correct to pay for services rendered?

But we say, there is a tax built into the fuel price for roads… But we say, the government is wasting our money on frivolous stuff… But we say only certain road users must pay and the system is not fair… But we say, most of the money is not even going into the countries upgrades, it is going offshore as profit… But we say…..

Do you see how quickly doing the right thing can flip into “doing the wrong thing”?

How can we navigate this minefield of conflicting opinion and still initiate right action?

actually easier than one would think

If you are aware of yourself and your emotional responses to things, it is easy to observe your emotional reaction s. The secret is to not respond to these emotional reactions immediately. Rather write them down and address them again in an hours time. This will give you time to either gather more information and make a better informed decision, or it will allow you a safety net that curtails nu-necessary impulsiveness.

We all know right from wrong, and we all are swayed by emotion. The key to consistently doing the right thing by yourself and others is to balance the response to the expected emotional outcome, not the emotional motivation!

Take a moment to think about that, then draw up a list

How do I want to respond and why?

How should I respond and why?

 

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Rising to the challenge

“It is at our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” Aristotle Onassis

How many times in the past have you felt despair, overwhelmed, unable to cope, or that all was hopeless?Yet you are still here, living breathing and surviving – well done!

 The most important thing in life is to survive, and survive we always do! How much grace and fun we have in that survival process depends entirely on us and on how we rise to the challenges presented to us!

 A good friend always makes me laugh when, under severe pressure, he repeats to himself and everyone in ear shot… “ok, right, lets slow down to a panic, we are not dead yet!”

Now we may laugh at him, but he has found a very important stress coping technique – to focus and observe before making decisions or responding. He naturally understands that our immediate life and death survival is taken care of buy our instinct, and as such, our feeling of being overwhelmed and un -able to cope is something that comes after we have already survived – it is a secondary conditioned response!

Because of this, we are always able to take at least some of our power back in any situation and chose some responses that suit us.

To take our power back and make better decisions while under pressure, we should always try to change adversity into challenge, then rise to that challenge, conquer it and move forward. It may sound like a cliché to say that we don’t have “problems”, we have “challenges”, but that is exactly what we want to try to do! This re-labelling process changes the way we see the problem, it gives the “problem” a positive import which automatically presumes that we can triumph over it.

This is a subtle subconscious, psychological trick and it very simple and effective!

This weeks challenges

  • Observe your “problems”
  • Write those “problems” down
  • Change each problem into a challenge
  • Develop a simple strategy to rise to the challenge

 

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