Maree's Blog

Managing You

How to Take Control of Your Stress Before It Takes Control of You.

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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Why Human Service Professionals need Consultative Supervision.

Supervision It has been seen as mandatory for many decades in many human service professions. It is understood and expected that human service organisations will provide it and/or that practitioners will seek it out. In recent years, however, there have been increasing numbers of organisations working in the human service sector, who traditionally didn’t prioritise supervision for their staff, that have begun to recognise its value and now require their staff to engage in it on a regular basis. Most of these people are already highly experienced and while their organisations may want “Professional Supervision” put on the tax invoice, they actually don’t need to be “supervised”. What I have offered these people, over 25+ years is what I call “Consultative Supervision”, a process by which they consult with me about their work. It much more resembles a mentoring process than it does traditional supervision. It is a collegial and collaborative relationship that is highly confidential.

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Becoming Emotionally Intelligent is an Important Learning Experience.

While reading the Melbourne Age online this morning, I see a Liberal National Party Staffer has been put on “indefinite leave” for texting an expletive-laden tirade to a female journalist who recently criticised a federal MP Senator Barry O’Sullivan. In responding the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack stated it was sent “accidentally and inadvertently” to the reporter when it was actually intended for a friend. While the staffer has apologised, what has been said cannot be erased.

How often do we see this today? Angry, overwrought, stressed and highly emotional people resorting on the spur of the moment to vent their feelings, generally apologising sometime later. But what has been said in haste cannot be taken back.

We constantly hear stories like the one above. People in organisations brawling back and forth by email. Again too often in their highly emotional, non-rational state, accidentally sending it to the wrong person, then it circulating around the building, becoming the latest reality show in the building.
We can change this. We can learn to respond in professional ways. The recent research into the brain and how it manages our emotions tells us how.

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Monday Motivation November 19, 2018 – Exercise Increases Our Energy and Productivity

Exercise increases energy and productivity

It was Richard Branson who said that for every hour of exercise he does, he gets an extra 4 hours of productivity. Who wouldn’t want to be as productive, have as much energy, achieve as much and be as successful as he is? He does know what he is talking about.

Any of us who exercise on a regular basis would agree with him.

Exercise gets our hearts pumping. It sends fresh oxygen streaming through our bodies. It enlivens us. Rather than making us tired, it energises us. It clears our heads and brings clarity of mind. It focuses us. It keeps our bodies young and strong. There is increasing evidence that it protects us from a whole range of diseases.

So why, when we know exercise brings increased energy and productivity, do so few of us do it?

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Monday Motivation October 29, 2018 Do You Make Decisions or Commitments?

Do you make decisions or commitments

Why are some people more successful than others with seemingly the same opportunities – because they make commitments, not merely decisions. How many decisions have you made this year and not followed through with them? We make a start, but we don’t carry through past a few weeks with the exercise, or losing weight or stopping smoking.

We start the report but after the first distraction we don’t return to it.

We have a raft of reasons why we can’t do all the other things we decided we were going to do. Decisions are nothing more than ideas in our heads unless we take action on them. Commitment is the Energy  that fuels our action. Self-discipline is the energy that fuels commitment.

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Monday Motivation October 15, 2018 – Are You A Glass Half Full Person Or A Glass Half Empty One?

glass half full person

This is not just a quirky question. It determines whether people want to work WITH your organisation or just FOR it. There is a big difference. It also draws people to you or makes them run in the opposite direction when they see you coming. No one wants to be around the person who always sees the negative in everything, the person who always focuses on the difficulty in everything, never on the opportunity.

Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, called this our “explanatory style”, the way we explain what is happening in our lives. It’s very much about our mindset. Our explanatory style, he says, determines whether we are happy in our lives or depressed, whether we are a pessimist or an optimist. People who have a positive explanatory style can explain even the most devastating experiences in a glass half full way, in a positive explanatory style.

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Tuesday Motivation October 2, 2018 – Self-Care needs to be a Priority

Your 12 Self-Care Practices

Last week I conducted a group mentoring session on Self-Care for leaders in a human service organisation. While this is a most important leadership skill for all leaders in these unpredictable and changing times, the motivations that lead people to work in the human service field make it all the more challenging. I have quite a number of people on my mailing list who work in the human service sector so this blog is being written for them. Its content, however, is very relevant to all professional leaders.

As human service professionals, you do the work you do because you are motivated and inspired to care for others, to make a difference in peoples’ lives, to bring empathy and compassion to them. Yet while you are busy taking care of others, you too often fail to take care of yourself. You feel self-care is an indulgence, or it is selfishness.

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Monday Motivation, September 17, 2018 – Do Something Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Do Something Your Future Self Will Thank You For.

Yes, I know that you are being told all the time to let go of the past, leave the future to the future because supposedly you have no control over it and stay in the now and make everything happen there. Sometimes, however, that can be your comfort zone area, the place where you can easily get stuck and jeopardise any future you might have. So this blog goes right against the grain because I want you to stop a moment and think about your future self.

We are living in uncertain times, where on-going change is the new normal. Our lives are very busy. On the one hand we are committed to developing our professional lives while at the same time managing the many demands of our personal lives. In most families there are two parents working. We have children who are engaged in as many activities as we are as adults. Some of us have ageing parents to care about. We rush from one thing to another as we try to be all things to all people, meeting everyone’s needs except our own.

This week I want you to stop and think about You and your needs and do something your future self will thank you for.

Here are just a few examples for your professional and personal lives.

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Monday Motivation, September 10, 2018 – Self-Discipline Can Change Your Life

Sel;f-Discipline can change your life

Why is it that we so often act in ways that we know are not in our own best interests? The answer is Self-Discipline. How we hate that word! For most of us, it has all the connotations of hardship and restriction on our freedom. Is there anything “good” about self-discipline? Yes, there is, so read on. What is self-discipline? I like the definition of Elbert Hubbard: “Self-discipline is the ability to do what should do, when we should do it, whether we feel like it or not.” Self-Discipline achieves self-mastery. It puts you back in the driving seat of your life. It gives you back control. It is very empowering.

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Monday Motivation, August 27, 2018 – What are Your Negotiables and Non-Negotiables?

Negotiables and Non-Negotiables

Eckhardt Tolle said that “stress is being ‘here’ while wanting to be ‘there'”. One of the most helpful ways you can reduce that stress is becoming clear about what your negotiables and non-negotiables are in your lives. What is so important to you professionally and personally that you are not prepared to compromise on it, no matter what? What aspects of your life would you be prepared to compromise on to reduce your stress and those of your team?
Having negotiables and non-negotiables takes an enormous amount of stress out of our lives. They give focus and clarity to how and where you spend your time. So my motivational challenge for this week is to get your negotiables and non-negotiables clear and then start living them out in your professional and personal life.

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