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Articles and Insights

6 Ways of Finding your Purpose

6 Ways of Finding your Purpose

A lot if written about living a purposeful life and career. Yet it can be hard sometimes to know how to discover your purpose. What do I mean by purpose?  It is knowing ‘why’ we are doing something. It may be that what I am doing aligns with my values or what...

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How to Develop a Growth Mindset

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Think back to the last time you got a new phone, or there was a software update on something you use daily. I imagine that if you are like me you had some initial resistance to learning how to use it. You didn’t give up!  You tried a few things, some worked, others...

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Leader as Coach in a Virtual World

Leader as Coach in a Virtual World

Leader as Coach - How do I do this virtually? One area that my coaching clients still struggle with is how to be an effective coach to their employees in this new world.  Many have had enough of working remotely and they miss the informal coaching conversations, along...

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How to improve your listening skills

How to improve your listening skills

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou All good conversations - coaching or otherwise - require that we pay really good attention to the other person.  We all know when...

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Are you having fun?

Are you having fun?

Has work become a bit more of a drag for you recently? Are you feeling a loss of purpose and engagement? I’ve been hearing about this a lot from people recently - both coaching clients and in groups. You will be familiar with the context. Many of us are working from...

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Work, Self Care and Guilt

Work, Self Care and Guilt

I love to swim. I feel incredibly lucky to live somewhere I can swim regularly.

This morning I woke up late and hesitated. Did I have time to swim? My better self sent me down to the pool, but after 2 lengths the guilt set it. How come I was swimming? I should be working! Not only am I in the pool but there might be urgent emails piling up after my new rule of no looking at emails when I am not at my desk. Oh – and did I say my diary says I am officially off today…..? So what is this guilt anyway?

Wow – when I catch myself thinking this I am quite shocked. To put things in context, I have recently acknowledged the I am burnt out. It has been brewing for a long time, and those close to me are not surprised. I’ve had most of the symptoms including, unfortunately, mild depression. Something I have never experienced. It has been quite shocking.

So here I am feeling guilty about looking after myself and intrigued about this guilt. I know that only by recovering am I of any use to anyone.

I am guessing some of you are also experiencing guilt when you take time to look after yourself. When we do things which will restore our wellbeing, we are often pulled away in our minds to what else we ‘should’ be doing. Our working lives have become so pressured with the expectation to be ‘on’ all the time. Covid-19 has made this worse for many people I know. Needing to be ‘on’ all the time for work to make up for the time spent looking after the kids or talking to family and so on.

We feel guilty that we might not be seen to be pulling our weight in our teams – I know I do. We feel guilt for not supporting our boss in every way possible – after all they are also in this state. We feel guilty for not spending enough time with family, friends, children.

Guilt, guilt, guilt.

This morning I happy to say I caught myself and slowly I managed to stop the noise. Instead of hearing the guilt I kept swimming and let it float off into the distance. Oh that felt good. 30 minutes of time to get oxygen into my system, to feel the water on my skin. 30 minutes to calm and come back to myself.

Now, I am at my desk writing this. I still haven’t looked at my emails. Who knows what I should be dealing with. Yet…. I know that writing feeds my soul as much as swimming so instead I am sharing this with you.

As coaches and leaders it is important for us to be listening out for this guilt in others. As a coach, I am listening to hear how I can support my clients to better look after themselves. As leaders, we can have explicit conversations with our teams about their own wellbeing. We can have rules about email access, working hours and model this by taking time to look after ourselves.

I remember a previous CEO of global Pharma company who went for a run mid morning from the office. After his run, he stood in the coffee queue in the main office in his sweaty running gear. Everyone saw him. He was making a clear statement that taking time for yourself is good. ‘If I can do it, so can you.’

Do you recognise this guilt? I’d love to hear what you do to let it go. How do you let it float off into the distance? What do you do to look after yourself? How do you look after others?

I am wishing you and myself a guilt free weekend.

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Career Reflections

Career Reflections

It’s time to reflect and plan. Over past few months I have been very overwhelmed. 2020 was going to be a busy year before Covid-19 - and then it arrived with all it’s challenges and opportunities. I am an ambitious and career minded person - yet something about this...

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My lightbulb moment

My lightbulb moment

When I left London and moved to Singapore in 2015 to set up an APAC business, I was faced with a new challenge. In the UK and Europe most of my facilitation and training was face to face and classroom based. My APAC clients were requesting virtual bite-sized learning...

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In Praise of Curiosity

In Praise of Curiosity

Inclusive leaders are curious leaders. I recently met a leader who told me she has been managing a team of people for the past 6 years in a high turnover market – and no one has left. When I asked her why they stayed, she talked about curiosity. She described how she...

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Making Sense of Work Podcast

How’s Work at the Moment? We all work – and yet we often struggle with work. Even very ambitious people find parts of work difficult. This podcast is for you if you’d like to build a new and better relationships with your working life. Join Jean Balfour and guests as they explore everything to do with our working lives, starting with how do we find our purpose, how do make sense of our organisations and what major movements are we seeing in the workplace today?

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