Empowered adults

This was an article I sent out as part of my Self-Care newsletters early in this pandemic. Given we are about to go into very demanding restrictions and lockdowns here in Victoria, Australia, I thought it was worth re-visiting it. What kind of people do we want to BE in these next six weeks? And what skills, strategies and inner resources are we going to need to BE that kind of person? We need to believe that we can be empowered adults and take back the control that COVID-19 has taken from us. In a very real sense only we can do it. 

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Stress Down instead of stressing out

Today is Lifeline’s Stress Down Day. This annual event always has inspired me. Instead of STRESSING OUT, it calls on us to STRESS DOWN. It is a message of even greater importance this year – 2020 – because even those of us who usually manage our stress very well are challenged by this COVID-19 crisis.
The words of Eckhardt Tolle are very relevant at the moment. If we can find a way to accept being HERE, instead of yearning to be THERE, we not only will beat this “thing” more quickly, but we will also able to STRESS DOWN as Lifeline calls on us to be.

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Control the impact of COVID-19

Controlling what we can control, and letting go of what we can’t, can make us feel we are making a difference. What we can control is what is happening in our own lives, making the practical decisions that reduce our stress and empower us.

I’ve created a checklist of decisions we all need to make and/or consider, especially if we are experiencing great stress, worry and anxiety at this present time.  They are decisions around our finances, our work, our health and well-being, our housing, our overall life-style and around our businesses if we have one.

Some of these decisions may well be difficult because they are usually the areas of our lives which we don’t want to change. They are where we are most settled and comfortable.
These are considerations that were not even on our agenda before this pandemic hit. In other words they weren’t on our agenda even 6 months ago.

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Take Back Control

How our lives have been turned upside down in a very short period of time! In fact, as I write this today, we can expect that tomorrow more change will envelop us that we can’t even foreshadow right now. As for next week and the week after that…….. that is so unforeseeable.

As I have already said in an earlier article, we have lost control of most of the parts of our life that gave us a sense of security and stability. We have to take back control over what we can control. That is not just our physical reality but also our emotional lives.

Tony Schwartz and Emily Pines, in an article titled “Coping with Fatigue, Fear and Panic During a Crisis”, called on us to move out of our Overwhelmed and Survival Self and into our Adult Self as the way to take back control in this challenging time.

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Emotoionally Unintelligent Leader

What kind of a leader do you want to be in the midst of these changing, uncertain and challenging times? Do you want to be an emotionally intelligent one or an emotionally unintelligent one? In the article I refer to here on the importance of working on yourself as a leader there is the story of Ann who was invited by her manager to give feedback.He took her comments and feedback and allowed his emotions to personalise them, became offended and then threatened her with withholding her bonus for no other reason than the fact that he couldn’t manage his emotions intelligently and appropriately as a leader. Emotional intelligence, like self-awareness, are crucially important leadership skills and deserve a high priority in our professional development as leaders. I doubt that Ann’s manager would have learned anything from this experience Who would be courageous enough to tell him if they were going to get the reaction that Ann received? Make a commitment to developing your emotional intelligence in 2020.

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Take Back Control

We are all like sticks of dynamite. The power is on inside us, but nothing happens until the fuse gets lit.

That really inspired me when I first read it. It is just so true. I really believe that every single person has something special and unique inside them. The reason why some are able to develop that and show it to the world is because they light the fuse. That’s what it means to empower ourselves. No one else can empower us. We have to do it ourselves. Others can encourage, support, motivate and inspire us, but only we can take that final step and light the fuse. When we do that, we take off. All those talents and all that potential we have inside us is activated and released.

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fear

Brian Tracy has said: “The greatest challenge you will ever face in life is the conquest of fear and the development of courage.” Are you one of those people riding through life fearful of taking your foot off the brake stopping you being and doing everything you want to be and do?Fear is the greatest obstacle to your success. It is epitomised by the words “I can’t”. “I can’t”, not because I am not able to, but because I fear to. When you contemplate something new or different, fear rises up in you. If you keep thinking about it, the fear consumes you and becomes overwhelming. “I can’t, I can’t” grips every part of your being so you switch off thinking about going into that new space, together with all its possibilities and opportunities. You go back into your comfort zone, as unchallenging as that might be.You probably fear one of two things – or maybe both. You fear failure or you fear rejection. They are the two greatest fears of us all and they often go hand in hand.

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Accelerate your career

So many people from CEOs to receptionists are riding through life with their foot on the brake too frightened to live the life they want, to seize the day and accelerate their career. They, themselves, are the biggest obstacle to their success, not their manager or their organisation, nor their circumstances. If this is you, here are 15 steps to take to create the professional future you really want.

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Stressed Professional

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives today. We all believe it is bad for us and we want to be able to manage it so that it doesn’t create chronic health problems for us. However health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, in her 15 minute TED talk is turning that belief on its head. She wants us to make stress our friend and uses scientific research to prove that mindset plays a big part in how we view stress and its impact on our lives for better or for worse. Watch her TED video here.

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Stressed Professional

Stress creeps up on us. We often know we are approaching overwhelm, but we are highly competent professionals and we tell ourselves we can work through it. “As soon as I complete this project things will get better”. “I have holidays coming up in 2 months time. I can get through to then.” “I wanted this job so much I can’t let them know that I’m almost at breaking point.” We don’t believe we have any other choice but to keeping working at this level of stress.

But……if we don’t take control of our stress it will take control of us. The least damaging result is that we break down in tears one day at work, or collapse momentarily from exhaustion and have to go home. The worst outcome is we have a heart attack or stroke. That’s the ultimate act of stress taking control of us.

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