Category Archives: NLP

Worry WART Tool – Worrying Within Approved Rumination Times

Worrying Within Approved Rumination Times in the Tardis

Here’s short clip showing you how to decrease worries, by scheduling a specific time to worry.

Identify a time to have a meeting with yourself so you can worry about the situation flat out for 30 Minutes (actually shorter time works just as well). Then if you think about this issue outside your Worry WART time, all yourself you will give this issue your full attention later. This tricks your brain and frees up your thoughts for more useful tasks.

Spoiler alert! What you  will find is that by the time it comes for you to have your meeting, you will have forgotten about it, or you can’t focus on that worry, and choose to do something else.

The Extrovert’s Guide to Working From Home


At MindMeld, I have been working from home for the past eight years, and Kristan for the last three years.  We know a lot about working from home, but it wasn’t until this week when several people starting asking me about it, that I realised how much Kristan and I know about how to function effectively when working from home, in terms of practical tips, how to manage emotions, and stay connected with colleagues.

We are both extroverts. I need a lot of people contacts per day, otherwise, my emotional and physical energy gets low. Our MindMeld Purpose is all to do with helping people through coaching and workshops, so I need to be around people to feel on purpose in my work. We have strategies that keep our focus and energy up as we work from home and want to share them with you. Please feel free to adapt them in a way that works for you, the working from home requirements of your agency, and of course, complying with any legislative and Ministry of Health requirements.

Our office is affectionately known as ‘The TARDIS’, as it is decorated to reflect Dr Who, one of our favourite Sci-Fi TV shows. Working from home is probably hardest for me when it is raining, cold, and everyone is home for the school holidays. Dishes pile up, Winston our cat will get his fur wet and muddy, and then he smells a bit like an old sheep. That’s when he will sit on me or on my keyboard. Family interrupts because they are bored or hungry. Be compassionate to yourself and to them. You will get interrupted a lot, so roll with that.

Here are the three qualities that we think are the most important in working from home:

Time Management – Goal setting – Self management

Time Management

Work out your most creative period. For me, that’s in the morning. Inspiration can strike any time from 5.30 a.m. onward, and I know I am at my best designing coaching tools and handouts till about noon. I try to protect this time (and also be really quiet so I don’t wake up everyone) and will resist texting or interruptions as much as I can. I have ‘meetings with myself’ in my diary so that my colleagues know I am working on something important and give me that space. It also helps with the little dopamine hits in my brain of having achieved something that day. Then I really want to be with people in the afternoon. That’s when I hold coaching sessions (face to face while we still can otherwise it’s online), and also have phone and Zoom meetings.

Having a routine helps you achieve your work and balance demands from home. Decide a start and finish time, and stick to them. Close the door when you finish.

Goal setting

What must I do today?  What would I like to achieve?

I work that out and start with my ‘must dos’’.  If I feel a bit overwhelmed with a lot of must do’s, I begin with the task I have the most energy and enthusiasm for and as this gets my brain going for the other tasks.  I find this works better than doing a whole lot of ‘shoulds’, as this can spark ideas, and I find life just goes better this way.

Self management

Skype coffees

I can get lonely working from home, and have some good strategies in place to deal with that. ‘Skype coffees’, where colleagues or friends make a coffee at their place, and then we go online and drink them together. I try to be upbeat and positive when having these kinds of meetings so that we energise each other.

Inspiring yourself

Make a playlist of music that helps you think and is uplifting. Doing a little dance in the office is energising and fun. [Check this out for some fun moves Never Stop Dancing NZ] I also bring other people into the office virtually, as I am very fond of audiobooks (check out Overdrive or your public library where you can download loads of great audio and e-books for free). I have the audiobooks running when I am tidying or filing because I really need motivating to do that!

We also have a couple of funny YouTube clips or inspiring speaker clips that might be 2 minutes long that provide a bit of boost and I might call them up if I need a bit of connection or cheering up. Here they are: Megan Rapinoe co-captain US soccer team speech excerpts; Animal Odd Couple Man who has a buffalo living in his house.

On the wall above your computer screen, create a collage of people you love and things you love to do, plus mantras to see you through. We also have our operating model on the wall in front of us to help guide decisions and remember our values. Decorating the wall in front of you with important reminders is really helpful, and your online guests won’t be able to see it.

Managing your thoughts

If I am home alone for too long, I find it hard to be confident in decisions and things might bug me that wouldn’t normally, and I become guilty believing my own thoughts and judging a situation. One of my best coaching tools is to do some inquiry and ask myself ‘Is this really true?‘ “Could there be another reason for this?’ and take a breath before responding. If we don’t have people in front of us, we are missing the vital clues to motivational behaviour that their body language provides. When we can only go by what they write in their emails, it’s so easy to feel triggered. I stop and think, ‘What is their positive intention underpinning their message?’ That helps with perspective.

Working from home requires a lot of compassion because your people aren’t in front of you but their emails are. I find taking my time to answer is really helpful. Kristan says “Check yourself before you wreck yourself”

Managing your home

The washing!!! Many people say they can’t work effectively from home if the house is a bit messy or there is something about the house that needs attention. You wouldn’t be late to work because you needed to fold all the washing, would you? Do the housework until your normal work start time, and then you can complete it once the day is over. One of the benefits of working from home though, is that you can bring the washing in if it starts to rain – very handy in Wellington.

I can stand in front of the fridge or pantry willing it to be full of yummy snacks. This comes from boredom. Try and eat healthy snacks instead. I find having my office at the bottom of the garden very handy in keeping me away from the fridge.

Getting ready to work from home

Get your home office or working space ready before you need it.

If you can, decide a dedicated space that is separate from other household activities. This includes important supplies such as printer ink, paper, and also tea and coffee, as well as complying with all your employer’s requirements for secure and confidential distance working. A lockable filing cabinet is also handy so everything is secure if you do have paperwork (think Privacy Act and also Healthy and Safety).

Sort out your wifi and invest in a wifi booster.

Nothing like trying to have an online meeting when someone else in the house is sucking down all the wifi for Netflix or downloading a giant game. This does not lead to harmony when working from home!

Practice using the online meeting tools

Have a trial go on your computer with Skype, FaceTime or Zoom, so you know how to work it. It’s very frustrating for others if they are waiting for you to join a conversation because you didn’t realise that it takes longer than you think.

Have a practice online meeting with a friend and ask them to check what they can see of your working space behind you. You want to appear tidy and you don’t want your fellow Skyper to see a mess, or photos or artworks you consider, ahem, private. They can give you feedback on how you place your screen so that they see your face and not your chins, up your nose, or the top of your head.

When you are on a call like this, people can still see and hear you, even if you don’t think they can, or you forget they can. I have seen people clearly do other work, scratch, pick their nose, and even walk away from a Zoom meeting because they forget people can see them.

A mantra

My mantra right now is ‘Face Everything And Rise’.  I also love this quote from Lao Tzu, to help all of us as we head to working from home. “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in the Present Box?

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This is one question I hear from my family regularly throughout the year, and even more frequently during December.

This week I started my Christmas shopping

Normally I don’t leave it this late, but the Christmas cheer really only struck me this week. So far (spoiler alert), I have purchased one hot water bottle with a yin/yang symbol on it and one ornamental box of matches. They are labelled and in my Present Box. I am 98 % sure the recipients will love these gifts.

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Finding your next role in times of change

How coaching can help you tap into your inner wisdom for empowering career choices

The traditional approach to finding your next role

When people think about their next career move, they often look for roles which they know they can do, and will provide a step along an existing career path.  They go through job agencies or look at existing advertised roles, decide to apply, and then enter the formal recruitment process.  This is a perfectly valid approach, and is an important part of job-seeking.  It can be greatly beneficial when you connect with many expert recruiters we have in New Zealand.  However there are drawbacks if you use only this approach to find your next role.  The drawbacks are:

  • It is passive – a person waits for an advertised role, and allows other people to reject or accept them.  This creates feelings of ‘stuckness’ and even powerlessness in some people.
  • It is competitive, which adds an extra element of stress during times of change.
  • It takes people down a path they are already on, which reduces opportunities to grow and maximise skills – without realising it, people get more of the same, which includes both the things they liked and didn’t like about their past roles.
  • It reinforces the artificial separation of work/life.
  • It creates confusion in people who are good at many things, as it means they can perform a wide variety of roles.  This can put them out of touch with what they truly want as part of a fulfilling career.

In short, it is old fashioned to just wait and apply for roles. It disadvantages you. There is so much more you can do to get the job and life you want, while you are waiting for those roles to come up.  This is where support from a coach can help you. Continue reading

Are you a List Nerd?

Ooo I do love a good list! But what happens when you get list fatigue?  Christmas is a time for lists.  Actually weddings are too. And wedding season is coming so what happens when two lists collide? Overwhelm, that’s what.

Often we experience the tyranny of list-making. Have you ever gone to the super market with your list and then forgot to buy the very thing you mean to get?

[Actually, I love lists so much I am even reading a book about lists. It’s called the Next Thing on my list by Jill Smolinksi (2007), and is a ripping yarn about a woman who completes someones else’s bucket list. It’s a positive, transforming and uplifting story about how our protagonist moves from a passive responder to creator in her own life. Highly recommended for List Nerds like myself.]

Lists are every where, especially on blogs, where we have The Top 5 ‘This and That’s’ all the time. The topic of this blog post is how to make lists work for you. If you are the kind of person who puts things on your to do list that you have already done in order for you to have the pleasure of ticking them of, then this post is for you.

I will also reveal a few of my favourite lists, and some photos from my favourite photo list. Continue reading

Are you an approval junkie? Five fast things you can do to curb your approval cravings

Losing your need for approval is one of the biggest things you can do to become more authentic and to live your life on purpose.  As I write this, my cat Winston, is keeping me company, and is a continuing source of feline inspiration.  When I look at my cat, I can see he totally doesn’t care what others think of him.  He knows he is perfect just as he is – clearly.

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Notes from a recovering perfectionist

Those of you who know me and have witnessed my atrocious spelling in emails, may laugh when I claim to be any kind of perfectionist.  But in my heart, I know I have a craven desire to do everything perfectly the first time.  And when I stuff up, I stop trying.  Or even worse, fear stuffing up, so I don’t even try at all.  If I were to list the worst casualty to my need for perfectionism it would be the loss of enjoying myself and not being in the moment.  Examples spring to mind, such as there is no such thing as Bad Karaoke.  Just a fun night out with friends involving singing.

Louise Hay on her CD How to Love Yourself, calls it ‘The Curse of Perfectionism, where we don’t even try anything new because we are afraid of failing the very first time.  She goes on to say that Number Three on her top ten steps you can take to love yourself is to be gentle and kind with yourself – that it is OK to make mistakes when you are learning. [By the way, numbers one and two on how to love yourself more are “Stop all Criticism of (yourself) and Don’t Scare Yourself with your thoughts of impending doom and disaster.] Continue reading

Romeo, Juliet and Zombies

Romeo, Juliet and Zombies
If you think this title is riffing a best selling book riffing a famous play, then you would be right. But this is what this article is all about – how to get someone’s attention when they are faced with difficult choices and need to make a useful decision. When clients are emotionally aroused, their own preferences for making sense of their world may filter out potentially helpful information, and you as the professional may be challenged to get your message across. Using new tools from the exciting world of NLP and Neuro-science, this paper explores how you can overcome the filters other people may unconsciously use to block your messages.

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