Inspirational First Impressions

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We are all familiar with the phrase “first impressions are important” and it is so true still. What is it that creates that positive first impression when we meet someone that means we go away from this initial encounter saying how inspirational this person was to anyone we meet. Over the past few years I can vividly remember a few people I met briefly that left this impression on me and I have been trying to work out what were the qualities these folks had.

Firstly, the people I have in my mind were all very passionate and knowledgeable about their profession or had a clear purpose to their enthusiastic about wanting to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise with others.

The other trait these people had was they looked after themselves and took time to do this. They were all varying ages and physiques however they had healthy habits prioritising their self-care and daily wellbeing regimes. A saying “you can’t give what you haven’t got” comes to mind here as these individuals were helping others in some way by being of service, teaching or helping develop students and clients.

They all showed genuine interest in me from that first encounter, they went out of their way to try and work out areas of difficulty or subjects that were important to me. They weren’t in a “one solution fits all” mode, their approach and their listening skills enabled them to tailor their offering to my circumstances.

Continual learning was a priority, and this was evident quickly in that they weren’t standing still, they all had new projects they were working on or new countries they planned to visit. In each of their chosen professions they knew there was a lot more to learn and they were hungry to first take on this learning themselves and then share it with others.

Finally, they were all generous with their time and their knowledge demonstrating the ability to identify people, books or resources that they thought might help each individual and they then facilitated those connections which demanded their own personal time and commitment to action,

None of this stuff is difficult however rarely is it all packaged together which makes this a winning cocktail of behaviors that creates such a positive first impression. Think back over the year who has created this impression with you? Any other qualities to add to the above list?

Sandra is professional coach working with Businesses and Private Clients http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com

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My Love of Reading

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When we were creating the “what are we thankful for in 2017 list” last month and I was asked for “an activity that I can become absorbed/lost in the answer came very quickly. I have always loved reading from about the age of 10 and now having recently been introduced to podcasts this is becoming an equally absorbing and enjoyable activity.

 I remember always having a book on the go initially Enid Blyton with the famous five and Secret Severn series and then from my early teenage years I graduated to detective novels when my grandmother introduced me to Agatha Christie which I proceeded to devour. Reading is a way of spending time by myself and I find it incredibly therapeutic and time does disappear when caught in a book that grabs me. I now love nothing more than a recommendation from a friend or colleague for a good book and I am straight onto Amazon to order. I must admit to still preferring a proper paperback book although for ease of travel the kindle versions are useful it’s just the added screen time that I try to limit at the end of the day, that is a dilemma for me on this.

 My reading challenge in 2017 was to add a bit more variety into my reading, as for the past few years most of my books have been related to either business or self-development. It took a conversation with another lady in the office who always relaxes by reading fiction that made me realise that I had neglected this area and wanted to add it back in. Having made that decision, I am pleased to have read around 6 novels in 2017 from very different authors and have thoroughly enjoyed them so I think in 2018 I will continue to alternate my pile of books in waiting between fiction and non-fiction.

 Podcasts are also becoming important and my initial introduction to these was via my Ashtanga Yoga Practice when some of the teachers started sharing stories via this method. I must admit I now listen to a variety of podcasts but mainly these are work related maybe there is another challenge for me to expand the subject matter wider here next year?

 My additional challenge is to encourage our little grandchildren to read, I always try and buy them books whenever possible in the hope that they might get the same pleasure I have from this pastime.

 

Sandra is a coach to Business and Private Clients and also the author of Own It available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

 

Celebrate Success

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As we are about to enter the season of festivity and celebration it reminded me of the need to ensure we celebrate success, achievements or just continuous hard work throughout the year rather than just at set times.

In the work I do coaching leaders at all levels of the organisation I encourage them to routinely catch people when they do the right things and behave in the right way as this has a dual benefit. Firstly, everyone feels good when they get some positive feedback and recognition plus when we acknowledge that we have noticed someone getting good results, behaving in line with company values or in a professional way it reinforces the message that we want to see more or similar in the future. Most of us have experienced the way that if you laugh or acknowledge a small child behaving in a certain way they keep doing it to get a similar response. As adults it is no different we still like to please those around us.

The way in which you choose to celebrate success however must be individual and meaningful to the recipient and this is where the skill lies. It takes time for leader to get to know each member of the team especially if they have a wide span of control. In my experience this is time well spent understanding each person’s individual personality, building a picture of what is important to that person’s life inside and outside of work plus also identifying their motivational mix; what makes them tick. Once you have built a pen picture of each person it is much easier to work out what type of reward or recognition would likely work for that person when it comes to celebrating success or a period of hard work and dedication. Some people will like to be publicly recognized in front of their peers or senior management while others would like a simple thankyou behind closed doors.

This type of tailored approach is equally important regardless of the size of the team or business. In my work across all sectors and size of company it is most often the individual leader that makes this happen and it becomes part of their leadership toolkit they can take with them throughout their careers.

So, I challenge you how good are you at recognising the efforts of others? is this something you are naturally good at and just need to continue in the way you are or is this something you could do a better job of in 2018. We need to look after our high performers and encourage the growth of future high performers

 

Sandra is a professional coach who works with both organisations and private client. More info can be found at www.sandrawebbercoaching.com

Do it Yourself , Don’t Do it or Outsource?

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We are all extremely busy, whether we are working for an organisation or running our own businesses however when I worked for a company the question of whether to do a task myself or whether to ask someone else to do it felt a lot easier to decide. I was lucky to have some good mentors in my corporate career who encouraged me to delegate as much of my role as possible so that I was free to lead my team properly and as a result the people who worked for me got an opportunity to grow as they took on more interesting work and raised their visibility. When working with leaders in a coaching capacity today this is the approach I encourage them to take, working with the fear of initially letting go and trusting others to do work to the same standard. Learning to delegate well is a topic and gives fertile training ground for ensuring explicitness in the final deliverables.

 The challenge of delegating to others or outsourcing tasks when you are self-employed or running a small business is often cost. To be specific it’s the return on the investment of outsourcing work and the opportunity cost of your own time spent doing other things that you either find easier, are more able to do or earn you more money per hour.

 The fun matrix at the top of this blog illustrates a thought process than can be used to decide on whether to outsource or not and whether to stop an activity or not. Sometimes a key question is firstly does it need to be done at all? Is it something that isn’t adding any value and therefore you can stop doing without any impact on customer satisfaction or profitability. It can often be tough to let go of something if you are emotionally attached to the topic or process however it might be that it isn’t working, it’s not cost effective or may no longer be required. The second difficulty is if it costs you a lot to outsource to an expert and you are running a business which is the early stages and where money is tight you might find it difficult to justify this additional cost. From my personal experience in the early years I did make some expensive errors of judgement in this area and if I look back the mistakes I made where when the activity didn’t pass the value-added test e.g. Did the activity need to be done? Some of the activities I outsourced in the earlier days weren’t critical to the success of the business and I also made some wrong choices when I choose suppliers and didn’t shop around enough to find the right person or company whose values and professionalism aligned to the company we were setting up. I now test any supplier with a small project of work first to ensure I am happy with the quality and the working relationship before outsourcing more work on an ongoing basis. The emotional relief and quality of output when you do find the right partners and can negotiate a win win result in the price paid however is well worth the risk and allows you to work on the stuff you are good at.

More details on this model and other information can be found in Sandra’s book Own It regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

Do

Getting Rid of Stuff

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Linked to my last blog post I will ask you a question. Did you know there is a strong link between clutter and energy levels?

 One of the activities I have recently become absorbed with is Minimalism. To be honest this time last year I wasn’t aware of the concept or the growing movement that is building, largely in the US now, around the concept of living a minimal life. I love it when people recommend good books or documentaries, and this is how I discovered this growing approach to life through a recommendation from a friend regarding The Minimalists. A google search later and I discovered the website, the documentary on Netflix and the two guys behind promoting this approach to life using their own experiences to illustrate the benefits.

 I have never been a massive collector of stuff but when I began to read around the subject it shed a whole new light on the benefits of decluttering our lives and only surrounding ourselves with things we love or add value to our life. It takes having a bit of a clear out to a whole new level.

 In 2016 I had begun to dabble in this concept via noticing another book advertised in a magazine at the hairdressers called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Again, as I read this book the concepts made sense and I now see are aligned to the Minimalist approach in it suggests that category by category we sort through our belongings only keeping things that “spark joy”. As a result of this earlier read my wardrobes and cupboards are now organised in the suggested “Marie Kondo” way which makes life so much easier to see what you have, choose what you wear and prevent you buying more of the same type of items. When I first did this, I was astonished how many pairs of blue jeans I have, probably not many by other people’s standards but when they are all staked on top of each other on a shelf it would confirm that I would need to think carefully before buying another pair as I really don’t need any more unless I get rid of or wear out the ones I have already. If I am honest I probably default to wearing only a couple of favorite pairs anyway. When I had sorted my stuff, and stored it in categories if looked so good and this is where the energy impact kicks in. Every time I look in my nicely, colour and category organised clothes collection it makes me feel good, it makes choosing what to wear a lot quicker and generally generates the feeling of me being in control of my stuff rather than the other way around.

 Minimalism takes things to another level asking us to question everything we own as to do we love it? and does it add value to your life.? With my jeans example my next project is to sort through the pile and donate or bin any pair that doesn’t pass those two tests! As I type this from our business office a lot of work needs to be done here as we have over 18years worth of stuff maybe that is a 2018 project in the making.

 

Sandra is a professional coach who works with both Business and Private Clients. More information can be found at www.sandrawebbercoaching.com or www.thekudosgroup.com

 

 

Managing Your Own Energy Levels

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Having always been a naturally high energy person, it wasn’t until I found myself feeling low energy on a daily basis that I gave this subject any consideration. The only times when I had previously felt lethargic were when I was ill or in the early years of having young children when I just assumed it was a given in both situations.

It took the condition of an un diagnosed bout of glandular fever about 5 years ago for me to take a good look at how I managed my energy daily. The virus eventually did get diagnosed but not until I had suffered with extreme tiredness for many months getting highly frustrated not knowing the reason. In some of the Chinese medicine literature it states we all get the illnesses we need to give us signs that the body needs help or that we need to make certain changes to our lifestyle and I now believe catching glandular fever in my fifties did me a massive favor. It forced me to do a complete audit of my lifestyle, read around the subject of adrenal fatigue and make some positive adjustments in both how I manage my work and personal life.

Any person with a driven personality type tries to muscle on through when they get ill and this often not helpful. In the end I realised that I had to give in a bit, reserve the little energy I had to focus on  the most important tasks and take rest a lot more than I had ever taken in my life before. Being self-employed I decided that I needed to focus my energy on keeping my work commitments and let go of my social life, my then intensive exercise routine and pare down my diary time to two simple elements going to work and coming home and resting. If felt very unusual at first sitting down and doing nothing but in the end, I was left with little choice as the current way of operating wasn’t working. Within a few weeks the energy levels started to return, and this is dangerous as feeling better it is tempting to return to old habits and burn the candle at both ends again. Luckily during my rest periods I had been reading and a brilliant book called Adrenal Fatigue by Jim Wilson and it helped immensely; some of the key messages had filtered through and I made two lists of “things that make me feel good and energise me” and “things that make me feel bad and drain me” This exercise was a breakthrough for me as it forced me to list out activities, situations and things that aided my energy levels and also the opposite, any person, activity, food or situation that drained or stressed me and therefore depleted my energy.

Five years later I still add too and refer to these lists – I encourage you to create your own to manage and optimise your own energy levels.

 

Sandra is a High Performance coach who works with both businesses and private clients; more information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com

How Many Rays of Sunshine do you know?

 

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You may have heard the phrase “we become an average of the five people we surround ourselves by” Personally I believe this is so true and can have a massive impact on how you live your life and whether you reach your full potential and live the life you want for yourselves.

 If I remember back to my early family life I wasn’t born into a family who inspired me to achieve anything other than average. Looking back for the first 21 years of my life the people I was surrounded by were using my own definition of weather character cloudy skies. They were good people and some days were better than others but until I started work for an American computer company Hewlett Packard my aspirations for my own life were average and ordinary.

As I started right at the bottom of this growing American multinational they type of people I found myself spending time with started to change. There were still the cloudy skies folk amongst the people I began to interact with however the big change for me was that I started to come across a more inspirational type of person who was operating on a different level. These people exuded infectious energy, they worked hard, they were professional, they were fun to be with as they knew how to play hard as well! When the company was growing rapidly in 1980’s we certainly worked and played hard sometimes staying behind in the office to reconcile the month-end accounts until midnight and being back at the desk by 8am the next day. I learnt about the importance of teamwork, setting stretch goals and continually improving both processes and taking any opportunity that came my way to attend learning and development events. Some of the course tutors on such training events were also pivotal in my own learning.

 Without really realising it at the time my world had expanded and now I was surrounded by some ‘Rays of Sunshine’ These people were impressive professionally but also authentic and approachable at the same time. Not everyone I met was like this but there was enough of them in my life now to know that there was a different way of approaching life. There was another level beyond Cloudy Skies and I wanted to learn how these people lived their life in this way.

 So, look back over the last few weeks, list who you spent your time with, how many Rays of Sunshine are in your life? Enough or do you need to find some more?

 Learn more about how important it is to understand who you surround yourself by in Chapter 8 of Own It Book available using this link amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl