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Yes, Mindfulness Does Support High Performance
With technology providing 24/7 connectivity,combined with working from home, there is an increasing blurring of the lines between our personal and our professional lives. For our survival we need to evolve quickly, we need to respond with new modes of behaviour – is mindfulness the answer? Richard Branson is quoted as saying "Mindfulness is one way that many entrepreneurs choose to combat the toll wrought by round-the-clock emails, long working hours and other aspects of our accelerated business culture," "The business leader Arianna Huffington says that mindfulness gives her a competitive edge; Steve Jobs did too." You might think at first that mindfulness is a buzz word, be assured it brings real benefits to people. You know this is true, you see it in people who are already practicing. The question for you is, how to best choose mindfulness activities which work for you, and how do you implement in your busy professional life? The answer, you need to experience different techniques to understand what works best for you – and you want quick answers. Take a look at what https://www.astera.global/ offers you.
When Your Choice is Burnout or Mindfulness
Burnout from work-related stress is real. We all know someone who is suffering burnout to varying degrees. I have personally observed this in a friend, whose body began to shut down. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines burnout as ‘a state of vital exhaustion’. In its ICD-11, the WHO describes burn-out as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. And characterized by; 1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2. increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and 3. reduced professional efficacy. Kate Lovett, dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said, “it is not considered to be a mental illness, but rather a form of chronic workplace stress” I find it strangely comforting to consider burnout is NOT a mental illness. Somehow that causes me to feel there is greater chance of recovery. Certainly my friend, who is young and athletic, has improved dramatically from 12 months ago when his legs repeatedly gave out from under him. Now he is revitalised and has rejoined the paid workforce in a meaningful way. Thank goodness! But the cost was a major disruption for he, his family and his employer. One of the actions of my friend was to adopt mindfulness techniques to support his recovery. Only he knows how beneficial this was, although he has acknowledged to me that he felt better supported in his journey by practicing mindfulness in his own way. I believe every person who works in professional areas can avoid burnout and enhance their personal outcomes, and that they deserve this. So I've created this easy challenge, purpose built for busy professionals, to help you along your way to mindfulness. https://www.astera.global/event-details/free-5-day-mindfulness-challenge #burnout #mindfulness #stress
Build Your Mindfulness Practices
Stepping onto the path of mindfulness is one of the best decisions you will make for yourself and everyone around you. Further developing your practices will take you to places you cannot yet imagine and which can enhance your life to fulfillment and beyond. But how do you do it? It takes practice. Your mindfulness is similar to a muscle, the more it is used the stronger it becomes. You can build it up to greater speed, accuracy and knowing around your personal decision making. You just need to make a start and you will be hooked! Anecdotal evidence suggests there is no going back to old habits, unlike the many new year’s resolutions we have all tried, and thank goodness! Because mindful living is living well. Beginning your mindfulness practice can be as simple as determining that every day you will celebrate 3 things for which you are grateful. This sounds like positive attitude, but it is actually more, we take it deeper to the point of raising the vibe within your body. Not only does that feel great, it IS great for your body and wellness. From a higher vibe you’ll begin to notice what works for you and what doesn’t, what supports your good feeling and what depletes it. Noticing the difference is discernment. Get to this point and the people around you will feel a change, they may even comment. If this appeals to you, I invite you to join me in this https://www.astera.global/event-details/free-5-day-mindfulness-challenge. (this event has closed) I’d be delighted to help you develop some mindfulness habits. It’s for busy people like you because there really is a better way to manage professional life. #mindfulness #stress #workplacestress #challenge
Feel great with juices, salads and smoothies
Low energy, feeling hungry when I shouldn't, agitated for no reason, these are signs for me to intake something green. It's a daily habit for me and has been for over 2 years, to juice and consume lots of greens, ginger, lemon, and selected fruits. I even have a travelling juicer for those times where the local cuisine and restaurants are not so green friendly. Because it's made such a huge difference for me I'm delighted to give you access to this list of recipes, to help you get started on increasing your daily green intake. With compliments from generous spirited Carol Egan, Executive Health & High Performance Coach, and Founding Contributor of astera.global
"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Poignant words for today. Seems to me the times are calling us to Stand Up With Others for what we care about.
Why do men do dumb stuff - for good reason
He broke into a run to cross the road as I hit the brakes, rounding the corner on a downwards hill. I smiled at the woman who was waiting to cross where her husband had made a dash for it. She smiled back. I giggled and felt we shared a moment in agreement that 'Husbands do dumb stuff'. There never really was much risk, I was able to stop. But this man's decision got me to thinking... I've seen this pattern many times, also in my relationship. There are parallels with Hunter Gatherer societies. The masculine in Jeff presses on to get there sooner as is necessary for a hunter to achieve the kill. The feminine in me is patient about getting there a little later, acceptable, maybe even necessary as a gatherer to give greater attention to risk assessment. I wonder why he takes risks, he wonders why I am cautious. Together we make an amazing team, working in Harmony, balancing the other when needed. We trust each other to contribute for the right reasons, for our collective goals. In terms of balance this is perfection, absolutely complementary, perfectly imperfect. Sometimes frustrating to me and sometimes infuriating to him. The wisdom my Mother shared in the 1970s has not been lost on me. She foresaw the emasculation of western men as we took the path of empowering women. Ongoing emasculation of men is something I have witnessed and been a party to. I'm not proud of all of that - not at a personal level nor at a societal level. As evolving societies we've achieved some great things, and we've caused pain along the way. From here and now we can do better. I can do better. I want to see the masculine allowed as the feminine rises. Women AND men are essential to achieving our natural balance. I'd love to say good-bye to patriarchal societies, yet I don't wish to live in a matriarchal society. How about matri-patriarchal instead - feminine dominance in some things, masculine dominance in others. Could this underpin a type of Harmony-archal result where there's a place for all. If you'd like to hear more musings from me and my friends, subscribe to Conscious Professionals the podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/conscious-professionals/id1495099185 Best, Liz
How to control your emotions
Do people make you angry? annoyed? frustrated? There's a process you can follow which helps you to understand AND work your reactions through to a better place. My US friends Dr Myke and Mike have made it their life's work to empower you with control over your emotions and understanding of the emotions of others. This is a system with a 4 step process from triggers to actions. 1. Perceptions - a trigger is something you perceive and which leads to an emotion within you. There's some kind of link for you. Not everyone shares your perception, it may be only you. Many things may trigger some emotion; eg, a picture of a baby animal, or an image of casualties of war. 2. Emotions - are feelings which you have within your body, which you may or may not become aware of. The list of emotions is long, none of them right or wrong, they simply are; eg, love, loneliness, euphoria, sadness. 3. Motivations - is your conditioning which gives you context, your experiential and genetic understanding of what to do when a particular emotion arises. 4. Behaviours - given you've registered a trigger, you feel an emotion, and your environment has laid out what to do with that emotion, what action do you take. You get to choose: 1. do what your conditioning tells you, or 2. do something different. Either way, you might choose to do nothing. Do nothing is a choice. I have a personal example to share with you. My husband joined the army a few years into our relationship. For many years he spent a lot of time away from home and I was very sad about that. I resorted to some comfort eating. We ended up divorcing and it was painful for each of us. For several years afterwards I had an emotional reaction triggered by my past cumulative experiences. Here's what happened: 1. when I saw an army uniform (on anyone) 2. I immediately felt a high degree of each of abandonment, sadness, anger 3. My body felt as if it needed food. It was as if eating would help me fix my emotions - it had worked in the past 4. Initially I didn't have effective control over my decision and I did what my past experiences dictated; 4.1 In the early years after divorce, when I saw a uniform, I resorted to food to soothe my unsettled feeling 4.2 Later I managed to disrupt the need to soothe. With practice I got to the point of no longer being triggered when I saw an army uniform. Now when I see one I have only the recollection of how it used to trigger me. The key to breaking this pattern was for me to find the disruptor and practice. You may be wondering, how do you the find the disruptor? Your situations are unique to the contributing experiences. The disruptor needs to fit your story. So I offer the following as a starting point, then I'll tell you what I did to fix my 'uniform' trigger. Don't take it personally, not in the way your Mum or Dad used to say - this is deep. Try to not personalise what's happening around you, try to detach. Detach without losing compassion. This is one heck of a powerful skill which takes practice. There are many obstacles to achieving detachment. It can help to deprive those obstacles of any airtime. So I'm going to let them slide on by right now and offer you a method. It's the method I first used which really truly got me onto the path to a very healthy and robust detachment with compassion. The way I began practicing detachment was to view what was happening around me as a movie. If this technique is of interest to you simply set up a time using the link below and we'll chat. I'd love to share it directly with you. https://calendly.com/lizhargreaves/30min
Hate Crimes - Who Will Fix This
Last year a dear and caring friend of mine commented she and her teenage daughter were experiencing new and overt disapproval from members of their local Californian community. I wish I'd paid more attention at the time to her words because now I realize this is a big problem. My new awareness of the Covid 19 Hate Crimes Bill has opened my eyes. It seems there are some people who are struggling to live alongside those who have always been their neighbors or community members. Blaming, shaming, ostracizing, at its worst hate crimes. Apparently because Wuhan and Covid 19 have become synonymous in the minds of some of us. People on both sides of this experience are hurting. I wonder, is legislation the answer? I'm fortunate to have wonderful friends who are qualified to understand this situation. While I live in the UK Dr Myke and Mike live in the US and they have deep understanding of human behavior. In conversation together they've helped me to understand some challenges and opportunities of these current conversations. My biggest question is, why do we need to legislate behavior which to my mind is a matter of common decency. The answer may be found in the deterioration of society, where trashing someone else is OK - it's not OK by me. Where accountability is absent and anonymity is provided by social platforms with global reach. Add to this the differences which show up as provincialism. It's understandable that one group has a shared viewpoint which differs from that of the next group. Yet how do we manage bringing those varied viewpoints together without creating tribal conflict? Maybe Dr Myke is right in saying Congress is initiating a conversation for change which the people will implement one by one. There's no doubt the Civil Rights Act (1964) has contributed to the normal thinking of later generations. Yet I feel there's so much more to be done on the matter of discrimination, though I digress. If the actions of we as individuals is the source of our solution to Covid 19 Hate Crimes, what is it we can do, what is it I can do? It's a two pronged approach of addressing our own behavior and of being willing to help someone else address their behavior. Beginning with taking control of my own behavior. This takes some self reflection and isn't always an easy thing to do. We tend to act out of passion. To then step back and observe our own behavior can be challenging. Because it takes dispassionate observation of our own passion! Do you see the conflict this presents us? There is a trick to dispassionate observation which I discovered some years back. It's to replay in my mind the event as if I am looking at it in a movie. In this quasi removed state I am able to 'see' more clearly the situation and how I acted. It has taken practice and continues to serve me well in many situations including allowing me to step back from the behaviors of others - that's handy! Helping others to observe and understand their behaviors is a different matter, I'm working at getting better at this. Dr Myke says, it's important to seek permission first, for example by asking someone close to you, 'can I speak with you about what I just observed?' If the answer is no then respect that. If the answer is yes then you have the opportunity to help, and by setting aside your own judgements, you stand a chance of making a difference. Food for thought.... Dr Myke, Mike and I had such a rich conversation together, there's much more I feel you'd find valuable. So I've produced a podcast for you. https://www.astera.global/podcast And now I will send a belated message of support to my friend and her daughter, both of whom are contributors in their society. Wouldn't it be a shame if the behaviors of others caused these women to withdraw their contributions?
Emotional Impacts Of Hybrid Work
What Does It Do To You and What Can You Do About It? Hybrid work is here and you’re feeling it. You may be celebrating, you may be anxious, resentful, or you may feel any of the many human emotions which are available to you. Today I’ll share how you can handle any of your emotions which is not working for you. Change was foist upon you last year, now there's more change! Change came to your world early in 2020 when remote working became the norm. You faced the challenges, adapted and eventually settled into a new pattern. In 2021 return to work under new parameters became the norm. Now you’re adapting again, this time facing a new set of challenges. Naturally anxiety, excitement, fear and dread are coming up for corporate employees right now. Let’s look at what you can do. How to deal with your persistent unsettling emotions. When you find yourself experiencing a continued or repeated feeling which you want to fix you can take the following actions; Step 1 Ask yourself : Is this feeling constructive or destructive for me? Possible Answer 1: It’s constructive – that's working for you, so keep using that feeling Possible Answer 2: It’s destructive – that's not working for you so let’s explore that Step 2 Allow yourself to experience that destructive emotion for at least one day but not more than 3 days. Set a reminder for the 3 day mark. By that time you might have already let it go. If you're holding on, make an active decision to set aside that destructive emotion. If that’s not possible, at least move to another less destructive emotion by choosing a less destructive word to describe how you feel. e.g. if your emotion is Hate, take a decision on Day 3 to change your feeling to Dislike. Take the power out of destructive emotions Another way to work with destructive emotions is to shift focus; FROM - the way you are feeling right now, with the problem front and centre and blocking your way forward TO – the potential future which is just beyond your current visibility. This is about realising, even trusting, you have skills, resilience, capacity to move into something different and then exploring what that is. It will all work out in the end When things go wrong for me and I get a sinking feeling, I pick myself up with a reminder, that there is something better to come. This approach has never failed me, even when sometimes deep pain is part of the journey. Do you know the mantra ‘It will all work out in the end’? My parents taught me this one and I continue to live by it. They would be delighted to think you might use it too! If you’d like to dig further into this topic My expert buddies, Dr Myke Merrill and Mike Wilson, and I have discussed the emotional impacts of hybrid work in this Conscious Professionals Podcast .
Get Emotional For Success
The greater our understanding of emotions the greater our individual capacity to handle what life throws our way. This is what leads to our successes. Did your emotional intelligence training have the impact the you desired? Is emotional intelligence accepted or required as the MO of communities in 2021? In some communities a start has been made and can be observed. Yet it's easy to find communities which have failed to assimilate human emotion with daily life. Weird imho, because I now know better. I'll let you in on a secret (first time shared) about how becoming emotionally agile was the key to my best career successes. It worked across relationships, recognition and work satisfaction, but it took a long time, considerable effort and lots of undoing of my counterproductive habits. Early in my career management expectations in banking were heavily skewed towards task completion. When it came time for me to lead younger gens in their unofficial professional development I struggled. I had long since abandoned my emotional smarts. Being strong on task completion was no longer enough. As I navigated to something better I can say that the personal side of this was painful, I felt awful at times. Realising how far I'd moved from the caring person I am by nature was a huge blow. I was disappointed with my emotional performance and was regretful of past failings. I had let down others but mostly I'd let down myself. If you're wondering what I did to remedy my emotional failings at work I offer you these ideas; as with any change, the first step is the decision it isn't just at work that we become task focused so there's opportunity to try better ways in the fertile, forgiving and more natural ground of our personal relationships the key to unlocking our emotional intelligence into our communities is rediscovering our individual relationship to self, and that can be one amazing ride of vulnerability and power the benefit of step 3 is the development of individual core strength or power which is always there for you with practice of emotional enquiry comes emotional agility, the capacity to be adaptable in emotional situations emotional agility provides the easiest pathway back to your core power when circumstances try to pull you off center. When you find yourself struggling with some emotion, ask yourself these two questions and answer in sequence; What is it doing to me? What can I do about it? You have the choice to act or not act on your answers. No action can be a valid decision for you. Either way you have increased your potential to find your way back to your core power. In finishing, when you've decided to improve your emotional intelligence and your relationship to self there is no going back. External events and other people have less influence over you. Your wellbeing is now within your control. From this position you'll enjoy greater successes, both small and large.
To Like Or To Love - that is the question
How much does it matter to us to choose the correct response? And anyway, how likely is it we will get it right in the eyes of the receiver? Does your choice of emoticon say something about you? Does it reflect your cultural sensitivities, your personal sensibilities. Do you choose based on what others might think, or can you choose with total freedom from consequence or, for you, is it somewhere in between? You may be quick to hit Like, you may be quick to Love, or Celebrate, or Care. You may not respond at all. You might Love in Insta, and Celebrate in LinkedIn. Have you thought about your choices? What's interesting to me is that when the world of SM opened and we could feedback to others with instant effect we came to that first moment with our pre SM behavioral norms. Smiley face was first up for me when using MSN Messenger (2003) . It was normal then for us to save our most effusive Love offerings for our closest family and friends so me and my friends played it safe. With time we've adapted as we've crossed over into new platforms with new uses and where we continue to evolve. I'm a big user of Love but still it seems to Like or to Love is the challenge. After all, we don't wish to be misunderstood, there's risk in that. At first glance the risks of being misunderstood may be greater in the professional arena than the personal. It's reasonable to assume there's less tolerance of mistakes in the corporate world whereas mistakes made in our personal lives may be more easily forgiven, where those people who love us will make greater allowances for our errors. I wonder if this remains true now. Especially as we and our work colleagues have learned at least a little about compassion, tolerance, maybe humility. I wonder if we are ready to cut each other a bit more slack when it comes to expressing ourselves more authentically. Whether or not we've evolved at a societal level to be more accepting of each other, and I hope we have, I believe it's more beneficial to relationships to be more generous with our emotions than less. Even better if we can choose responses which are well matched to the situations. We can do this by refining our emotional language. Think of less intense words such as Like, moving to Preference, Fascination, Love, or at the most intense, Obsession. If you'd like a structured approach to getting a grip on emotions email me at email@example.com and mention your interest in learning emotional agility.
Relax.... and win your next big role
You're about to go for that final interview for the role you want. It's your next best step in your career. Wanna know my secret? How to add a little something they can't put their finger on but find undeniably attractive, that little je ne sais quoi? The most successful I've been in interviews has been when I've been more relaxed. And I've observed it working for other women. Sure you'll dress the part, first obstacle down, greet with warmth, create rapport, impress with knowledge, demonstrate ethic, all of the usual things so boxes can be ticked. If you can find a way to walk into your interview relaxed, and stay that way except when intensity is called for, you will appear more confident, more capable and win over your interviewers. I'll tell you how I discovered this. For one role I'd had in my sights for a few years, including over the ten years I had on parenting break, I got to last interview. I was called in to convince the one up of the guy who would hire me. It wasn't going to be easy. A few days before the interview I became unwell as a result of an activity I did at the gym. It was unusual, at the time undiagnosed, and physically and psychologically challenging. While I was capable of getting myself into the city and attending the interview it was going to be an effort. I considered backing out. But it was the job I had in mind for all of those years, so I pushed through. Allowing plenty of time I struggled to walk from the carpark to the interview. By the time I'd made it I was really struggling physically. Again I thought about withdrawing which would have been closing the door on this opportunity. But I was there and a trip to the bathroom allowed me to compose myself enough to press on. As I was in the room with these two senior men I found myself going through the motions. Familiar stuff thanks to plenty of experience. But what was interesting was I had a care factor of about 2 out of 10. In that 15 minutes I could not have cared whether or not the job was offered to me. In fact I figured I had underperformed despite giving the event all that I had - which wasn't much. Next day I got the offer. No-one was more surprised than I. Still feeling totally crappy in myself I was pleased but not as thrilled as I may have been if feeling fully fit. I accepted. Sometime later I reflected on why I succeeded under those circumstances. I concluded it was that je ne sais quoi which the men had felt, didn't quite understand, but imagined was a good thing for the role. My gym injury had diluted my enthusiasm for the interview. I believe I appeared arrogant, stand-offish, maybe superior. And they liked it! You know that enthusiasm is an advance type of tactic which pushes towards people, by it's nature it can also push people away. Well showing disinterest is a retreat tactic which can draw the other person in. Here's my conclusion on the assumption you have the image, skills and capabilities for the role - and I bet you have all of that - add some light and shade, advance and retreat to your presence in the room. It is the most beguiling strategy which provides that irresistible je ne sais quoi.