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Help Your Team Feel Accomplished and Successful Going Into Their Easter Break.

Brenda, Dayna (our essential service worker in the Police Call Centre – our family is so proud of her) and bunnies.

You can ask your team members these questions in your virtual one on one catch-ups or at your team check-ins.

The questions.

1.What do you feel good about that you have achieved this week? (Big or small, work or personal.)

2.What is something in your current life situation that you feel grateful for?

3.What fun activities are you looking forward to doing over the Easter Break?

Why these are great coaching questions.

Question 1 – Achievements. When we judge our day on our productivity but cannot access the files we need, it’s hard to feel productive. It is useful to notice achievements both big and small.

Question 2 – Gratitudes create a growth mindset. The more we notice what we are grateful for, the more positive things will manifest.

Question 3 – Looking forward. Anticipation and optimism help us feel more in control. Identifying fun activities over Easter creates a sense of difference between workdays and weekends which leads to a stronger sense of structure.

Enjoy your Easter Break!

Brenda, Kristan, Dayna and Bunnies!

Don’t Drop Your Cell Phone Down the Toilet! And if you do, don’t worry.

Here is Winston our ‘coach cat’ guarding my laptop.

This blog is about realistic versus middle of the night worries, and how to manage both kinds.

 I asked Kristan (husband and also colleague at MindMeld) about what he was worried about.  We both had a long list, which we compared.  Some of these things were quite unrealistic (on my list anyway). I said to him, “What is the most useful thing to worry about to ensure business continuity?” I was surprised with his answer – “Don’t drop your cell phone down the toilet’, until he explained that this is one thing we could control.  His reply got me thinking about ‘realistic worries’ and what we can do to decrease worrying by taking positive action.  

If we can take action to decrease the likelihood of realistic worries coming true, then we are left with the ‘middle of the night worries’, which we can keep zapping with the coaching tools below. 

I was already thinking about this blog when I received this photo from our friend Blair of his smashed laptop, so I know we are not alone.

Kristan and I agreed we needed to do something about lugging our phones with us everywhere, in terms of listening to audiobooks or watching Netflix while we are in the bath, or taking our cell phones with us into the bathroom.  

If something happened to our cell phones we would be stuffed, and I don’t need the stress of having to manage insurance, and how to get a new one right at this minute, as well as bothering suppliers.  

Notice what is realistic and deal with things that could likely happen.

One thing I know about myself is that if I am under stress, I can get clumsy because I am distracted. I decided to make a list of the three physical things that I need to take care of during lockdown so that I didn’t create extra worries on top of my middle of the night worries.

  1. Reading glasses. Do not place on the floor by the bed where I can stand on them in the morning. How would I see without my glasses?
  2. Jewellery especially rings. Take off and put away before I wash my hands while humming Star Trek theme for twenty-seconds.  Do not leave rings of the edge of the sink to go down the plughole.
  3. Rinse dishes always before putting in the dishwasher, so that the filter doesn’t get blocked.  Imagine trying to get your family to hand wash dishes during lockdown!

There are other worries that plague us and make us worry especially in the middle of the night. 

Everyone is different and has there own unique situation of no one situation is the same, and while things may look great on the outside, things can be completely different on the inside. Lockdown situations are unique, with respect to work spaces, family members involved in essential services, being apart from family  members, feeling rushed trying to learn business arrangements and online meeting platforms, and looking after children and vulnerable members of family.  Middle of the night worries are different for everyone.

I used to name my worries ‘The Hooded Claw which was a line from a Frankie Goes to Hollywood song (1980’s, I know).   This was until I realised through coaching, that working is a process, not a thing.  I stopped giving worry a name and started to look for ways to undo the process.

Here is a photo of our window display of teddies for the neighbourhood children to spot on their walks.

Here are two ways to break middle of the night worries.

Worrying will always be with us, as it is a safety  mechanism.  The trick is to not let it rule your life, and find a way to give yourself some head space to take care of your loved ones, do some work, and even bring forth a bit of creativity.

  • Tool One: Interrupting your middle the Night thoughts and worries.

This tool works to help you come back into your body by bringing awareness to your senses.  You can still see some shapes, and hear some sounds when it dark.  You can physically feel the pillow, or sheets.

Step 4 can seem unusual when you first try it.  However, if you really ask yourself why you worry, you will find it is about keeping you safe.  You can reassure your brain that you have got this.

  • Tool Two: Schedule a meeting with yourself to worry (that’s not 3.00 a.m.)

 This is known as the Worry WART Tool – Worrying within approved Rumination Time. [This was an affectionate name given to me as a child who worried a lot so I decided to make the name into an acronym to rewire my brain and bust worrying tendencies.]

If you have the MindMeld Courage Cards, you can find it in the Practical Courage Section. You can watch a little movie of how to use the tool here.

Here’s Kristan holding the Courage Card tool.  It says: Identify a time to have a meeting with yourself during the day, so you can worry about the situation flat out for 30 Minutes (actually a 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.

You are enough just as you are.

If your worry has been: ‘I should be more productive/creative/energised/up for this challenge’, then please stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself.  

You are enough. You’ve got this. Be compassionate to yourself.

Brenda Ratcliff and Kristan Johnston, April 2020.

Put Your Big Girl Pants On!

It is all about confidence.

Big Girl Pants are a metaphor for being confident and doing some things that need to be done even if you don’t feel like it.  At MindMeld we actually have some Big Girl Pants – yes really.  Here’s a picture of me with them out in public.  These Big Girl Pants were made for me by a fellow coach and they make an excellent prop for conferences and workshops on confidence and resilience. [If you think that is weird, you should see what else is in our workshop tool kit.]  I was asked after this particular conference “Are these your actual pants and do you wear them?  I said, “No, the sequins would be too scratchy” but that didn’t seem a satisfactory response as the questioner still looked doubtful. 

There is a lot to do right now even though we don’t feel like it, and a lot to cope with. 

This list is literally not exhaustive (is anyone else out there feeling exhausted?):

  1. How to cope with weekends that aren’t different from weekdays anymore
  2. Staying inside when we don’t feel like it
  3. Helping our kids with homework and doing housework and actual work all at the same time
  4. Eating the same food over and over
  5. Wearing active wear all the time — though that could be a good thing
  6. Watching my regrowth actually grow in front of my eyes
  7. Trying to prepare healthy food so that I actually fit my work clothes when we come out of this thing
  8. Facing something new and uncertain that we have never faced before.

Work your Cognitive Triangle of Thoughts, Behaviours and Feelings to Take Action and Feel Better.

When I imagine putting my Big Girl Pants on, I can do what needs to be done, regardless of how I actually feel inside. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy talks about ‘working your Cognitive Triangle, of Thoughts, Behaviours and Feelings’.  This means that when you positively influence one, you positively influence the other two. The thought of putting on my imaginary Big Girl Pants then influences me to perform the behaviour I choose to do , and I feel better.  Try it, it works.

A mini-coaching session right now! 

At MindMeld, we have several card decks that we use with clients.  The front of each card has a picture and a title, and the back has a coaching question.  These coaching questions can go quite deep. The cards allow gorgeous coaching clients to consider a deep question even when Kristan and I are not in front of them to ask it.  We are now going to use our  Charisma Coaching Cards with you so you can have your own little coaching session to help you put on your Big Girl Pants. Here we go.  Are you ready?

Your two cards are, of course: ‘My Big Girl Pants’.  Kristan is holding them so you can see the front and back of each card, to show you these pants are for everyone.

  1. Here’s your first question: ‘Have I forgotten to put them on?’ Have a think now about where in your life you might need to put them on, and have the confidence to state your needs in order to get them met.
  2. Here’s the second one: Have I given myself a wedgie from over use?’ Where have you been a little too assertive, and that perhaps has not served you or the people you care about? 

If I ask myself if I might have forgotten to put my Big Girl Pants on in the last few days, then yes, I  can see where I have said my needs only in my head instead of in the real world.

When I consider if I have given myself a wedgie from overuse, well actually that is true too. I might have been a bit overly assertive with my need to control what I can control in terms of my home environment.  Do I need to rant at family members to unpack dishwasher before it even finishes beeping? No, I do not.

Here are your two coaching questions to carry you through the next little bit.  Remember they are coaching questions to help you take action and feel better, not a way to judge yourself or others. You are enough just as you are.

My  Big Girl Pants:

  1. Have I forgotten to put them on?
  2. Have I given myself a wedgie from overuse?

It’s all about finding a comfortable balance.

  • Brenda Ratcliff and Kristan Johnston March 2020.

What’s hot and what’s not in coaching tools right now

This blog was written as the May guest blog for the Leadership Development Centre.

What’s hot

  • Making yourself a product in your own business − if you are in the communications business, try doing a communications plan for yourself.
  • Learning journeys − looking at a completely different industry to compare with your current industry.
  • Making coaching fun and interesting, walking coaching to stimulate the brain, creating ‘Mind Maps’ and collages during sessions, and using coaching cards to ask provocative questions.

What’s not

  • Sitting on your butt in a meeting room hoping your colleagues can’t see you while you talk to your coach about what is wrong in your life.

This blog looks at one tool that’s hot right now, and that’s the ‘Learning journey’. Continue reading