Posted in Blog, Business Inspiration, Leadership Inspiration, Personal Inspiration

Time for Vacation Planning

Spring is upon us!  Now is the time to start planning a vacation. We all need a little time away from work for our mental and physical health.  Okay, let’s do it and come up with a great plan for your ultimate vacation.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Review your calendar before it fills up. What days are available for a week or two?
  • Okay, you have found some days that are open, submit those days for vacation leave to your boss.
  • Set your vacation dates on the calendar and block out those dates.
  • Immediately start thinking about what you would like to do on vacation.
  • What sounds fun, exciting or interesting to you?  Going to a museum, relaxing on the beach, reading a book with a nice breeze, hiking, skiing, boating, fishing, scuba driving, dancing, attending a baseball game, bird watching, zoo, wildlife park, camping, or traveling somewhere you have never been before.
  • Now, it is time to book the travel arrangements and accommodations.  It is important to do it right away, so nothing else can be scheduled for that time.
  • What job functions can you delegate while you are gone?  Start training others for those tasks, so when you are on vacation these things get completed and are done right.  No worrying while you’re gone.  It is being handled.
  • Share your duties with the whole team.  Giving different tasks to several people will ensure they can still perform their own job assignments as well.
  • Communicate to everyone you will be on vacation from this date to this date and you will be unavailable during those dates.
  • Insert the vacation dates on your email notification, voice mail messages and whom to contact while you are out.
  • The most important thing UNPLUG.  Reframe from checking your work emails or voice messages until you get back.

By enjoying your time off, you will come back to work refreshed, recharged, motivated, inspired and passionate.  Taking a vacation is good for you and everyone around you!

Call to Action:

After returning from vacation, tell me about your vacation; even if it was a “staycation”.  Were you refreshed, motivated and ready to come back to work?  I would love to hear all about it. ~ Patti

Do you want more in your life than just your career?
If so, click on the link and sign up for the 21- Days Optimal Work/Life Balance Workshop.
To learn more about one to one coaching with Patti – email me at: patti@coachingforinspirationwithpatti.com
Posted in Blog, Business Inspiration, Leadership Inspiration, Personal Inspiration

Are We A Culture of Presenteeism? [Guest Blogger]

Work-life balance:

How’s your work-life balance?

Do you feel like you’re working all the time?

Is it stressing you out and impacting your relationships with your nearest and dearest?

You are not alone!

A culture of ‘presenteeism’:

I first encountered a culture of ‘presenteeism’, 20 years ago, when visiting a couple of research laboratories in various US locations for an interview.

Talking to some of those currently working in the groups, I heard that people felt under pressure to be SEEN to be working long hours, 7 days a week. I heard rumours of heads of groups keeping tabs on who was present on a Sunday.

Others told me that they would be asked what they were working on before the boss left for dinner in the evening at say 7 pm, and then being asked a couple of hours later – How did you get on?(!)

Someone told me that it was not possible to work for them and also have time to look after (in this case) a horse – I think the same would have applied to children, parents or other dependants!

The battle to have a work-life balance:

Roughly 10 years later, with two young children, I found myself in a constant battle to keep weekends, evenings and vacations free from work.

I remember desperately trying to get loads of work done on the last evening before going on vacation, spending the first three days of vacation trying hard to recover, wind down and enjoy spending time with my family – before spending the last day of the vacation frantically trying to work my way through the enormous back-log of emails that were sitting in my inbox!

Every Sunday evening, emails would start flying in – you could set your watch by it – Sunday early evening would come round and many emails would arrive, sent to all the Leadership team I was in.

I felt compelled to reply.

I later found out that my manager at the time was surprised to find that I was one of the people sending him the most emails – all replies! It turns out that I was conscientiously replying to each email that came in, thereby generating more email traffic!

The smartphone era:

And then we came to the era of smartphones, with our ‘always on’ culture. I was presented with a Blackberry so that I could ‘stay in the race’(!)

I felt frazzled and powerless with no control of my time, much to the frustration of my husband and with negative consequences on my health, sleep quality etc.

Being seen to be busy:

Being busy has become a badge of honour in many of our workplaces. I used to chat to people in the queue to buy a coffee at work and ask how things were going – the answer was invariably “busy”.

Perhaps because in these times of layoffs, being busy is seen to hopefully imply indispensable?

“The graveyards are full of indispensable men” – attributed to Charles De Gaulle and others, but often repeated to me by a friend and former neighbour – thank you, Dave!

The lure of self-employment:

Nearly two-thirds of all employed workers, both women, and men, say they’d rather own their own business for the freedom that would give them to control their time.

Although having the freedom to control our own time doesn’t always mean plain sailing!

Many business owners I talk to are also struggling to avoid burnout and are not actually in control of their time.

Some business owners become their own worst boss ever!

The cost of our busy culture:

Research shows that forcing long hours, face time for the sake of face time, and late nights actually kills creativity and good thinking, and the ensuing stress, anxiety, and depression eat up health-care budgets.

It is estimated that the stressed-out ideal worker culture of no vacations, endless work, and exhausted butt-in-chair face-time presenteeism costs the US economy as much as $1.5 trillion per year.

So what can we do about it?

I think we need to take ownership.

If we take the view that everyone in an organisation contributes to the culture of that organisation, then we are responsible for the culture we are helping create.

By replying to emails from my manager at a weekend, I was not (just) a victim of the team culture and email traffic, I was reinforcing that culture and generating more email traffic.

I read something recently (apparently originally advertising a Sat Nav) that instead of complaining that we’re ‘stuck in traffic’ we should realise that we ‘are traffic!

Brigid Schulte says:

“Time is power.

Don’t give yours away.

Unplug.

Stop the “cycle of responsiveness” that makes work feel intense and unending.

Banish busyness.”

Little ripples can make a big impact:

Here are four areas in which you can take ownership, to lead by example, to take back control – whatever your position in your organisation.

1. Breaks

Make a decision to role-model ‘balance’.

When you do take a vacation, you need to give yourself a bit of slack too, whether you’re employed or self-employed.

2. Meetings

If you run meetings:

  • Do the attendees know the purpose, the desired outcome, why they are invited, what is expected from them?
  • Is there a timed agenda – and is it adhered to?

As an attendee:

  • What message do you send to others if you turn up to meetings with no agenda without question?
  • What does that say about how you value your time?

( A couple of years ago, I was asked to facilitate a 2-day meeting. I was amazed to find that the whole team had accepted the meeting request and put it in their calendar – despite there being no stated purpose, let alone expected outcome or agenda – just because the meeting request had come from the leader).

3. Email

What is the email etiquette in your organisation?

  • Are emails clearly marked in the subject header (e.g. Action required, For Your Interest)?
  • Is ‘reply to all’ the norm or is it discouraged?

How can you lead by example?

  • When do you send emails?
  • What message do you send out if you reply out of hours?
  • Are you ‘the traffic’??

4. Expectations

Beware of the pressure YOU are putting on you.

  • You may need to make sure you are not driving yourself to distraction by expecting too much of yourself.
  • We are not (despite what we might like to think or how we wear our underwear) superhuman!
  • Are your expectations (of what you can get done) realistic?

What kind of leader do you want to be? 

How will YOU lead by example?

What behaviours will YOU role-model?

What tone will YOU set?

Sian Rowsell is an effective coach and facilitator, helping you to be the best you can be. Having had a very successful and varied career in pharmaceuticals (mentoring, change leadership, continuous improvement, team leadership, project and portfolio management across global cross-functional teams), she has chosen to do full time what she really loves: coaching and facilitation. Based in the UK, Sian is a calm yet challenging group facilitator, team coach and 1:1 coach who helps individuals to have a more fulfilling life in and outside work. For more information, please email sian@sianrowsell.co.uk or visit www.sianrowsell.co.uk

Posted in Blog, Business Inspiration, Leadership Inspiration, Personal Inspiration

How to Overcome Feeling Inadequate

At some point or another most of us have experienced some feeling of anxiety that we are not good enough, that we didn’t earn or deserve something and we will be exposed for it.  This is called “impostor syndrome”.

What is impostor syndrome?

Impostor syndrome is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.

This syndrome causes overthinking, overanalyzing, second-guessing yourself and worrying about being judged.

What can you do to overcome these feelings?

  • Focus on your accomplishments and what you have to offer.
  • Embrace challenges.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Accept who you are and celebrate all your successes.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Who am I?

Why do I feel like an impostor?

Does my career really define me as a person?

Does what I do for a living, conflict with my core values or my personality?

When at work, what I am feeling like inside?  What I am portraying on the outside?

Am I truly fulfilled? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Am I happy and satisfied with my job duties and work progress?

Do I enjoy going to work each day? If yes, why? If no, why not?

What makes me feel motivated to get up each morning with excitement?

Is it time for a change?  If so, what is holding me back?

We often don’t recognize are gifts and talents, which may not come naturally for others. This is what makes us successful.  Don’t discount yourself, you are unique, capable and you are not impostor.

Call to Action:

Take your answers to these questions and start focusing on what makes you unique and talented.

Comments are always welcome and please share this post with your colleagues, friends, family and on your social networks!

Become a Better Leader [e-Book] Click here to download your copy.

Do you want more in your life than just your career?
If so, click the link and sign up for the 21- Days Optimal Work/Life Balance Workshop.
coaching-for-inspiration-with-patti-1
To learn more about one to one coaching with Patti – email me at: patti@coachingforinspirationwithpatti.com
Posted in Blog, Inspirational Moments, Personal Inspiration

Turn OFF Your Phone and Get Turned ON [Guest Blogger]

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Where did the love go?   Turn OFF the electronic and turn ON your partner!

Once I had a relationship (in its early stages) and I was convinced I could do whatever I wanted in that relationship – until my partner told me to not bring the laptop to our bed.

I had always pointed the finger at my “exes” for not giving me enough affection, not paying attention to how wonderful I was, it was easy to point the finger at someone else. But with this partner, I got a tough lesson where he felt affronted – and aghast – that I would bring into our bed – the ‘third’ man – the laptop.

That was in the year 2008.

Today, we have so many devices that are smaller than a laptop – that fit into the palm of our hand (and I don’t mean those devices if you know want I mean!) that we bring into the bed – and we don’t think anything of it.

How many times have you found yourself with your partner next to you in bed – or maybe your child – and in your hand – or both hands you are holding an electronic device such as smartphone, iPad, kindle or gaming device?

We think nothing of it – but the world shows us that this is the way of the future.

Electronic devices are here to stay – and they have entered our most intimate spaces – where humans make love, connect, tell stories and just stare into each other’s eyes.

So – if you were wondering how long my relationship from 2008 lasted – it was about 1 year after that first lesson from my partner how he was not impressed. But his lesson stayed with me permanently. How could I ever be with another partner – and treat them the same way – knowing that the very thing my ex wanted – undivided attention – was something I so – unconsciously – was not able to be sentient of?

Sentience is the ability to perceive or feel things.

With touch technology and the immediacy of stimulation from a screen, the physical body’s need for physical feelings is being downgraded as a priority.

But everybody knows – we NEED touch, eye contact, hand-holding, hugs, sweet talk, laughter, sharing stories and exploring the stories inside our loved one’s heart.

So why do we displace those very dear and endearing things….with an electronic device?

I am not going to tell you to turn your phones and electronic devices to get more intimacy – because that is a no-brainer.

If you really wanted to have more connection with your partner or loved ones, wouldn’t you just turn off the phone?

The REAL question is what my ex-partner so kindly demonstrated for me – why would you shut someone out that you loved in the first place. This is not about laziness. This is about a deeper calling for us to switch off from the places where we may even, potentially, experience more vulnerability.

As a love and relationship coach, the things I ask those looking for intimacy with their partner when they feel ‘disconnected’ from their partner are the same questions I had to ask myself when I got chided for bringing the laptop to bed.

  • What are you afraid of facing if you had to be with your partner/loved one right now?
  • What are you to shy of sharing with your partner?
  • What are you avoiding feeling – either with your partner – or because you feel you shouldn’t ask for more, or you shouldn’t bother with – because it’s not that important?
  • What are you ashamed, embarrassed or hesitant to share, because you may think you’re loved one will just not care?

We all need intimacy – and the easiest way to hide from that – is a device.

We already have many devices to avoid the ones we love: “too busy”, work, stress, kids, demands, etc. Electronic devices are another tool to avoid what we deeply want.

So I invite you to ask yourself, if you are touching your devices more than your partner?

If you never had to be worried, ashamed or hesitant of how you would be received, what would you LOVE to share with your partner?
And if that is too hard to answer – google it!  Get creative – find ideas, poems, odd stories, anecdotes, anything that you can add to the mix of new possibilities of what you could share with your partner.

Your phones could also give you some smart “stories” that you can laugh and share with those you love as well. ~ Angela Ambrosia, LoveandRelationshipCoach.com

Angela Ambrosia is a Love and Relationship Coach with a deep affinity for women creating a deeply satisfying love. She is certified as a Life Coach and Relationship Coach by World Coach Institute, and a certified Subconscious Rapid Transformation Practitioner, a technique of subconscious re-patterning that transforms a person’s ability to create the relationship of their dreams. Adding to her gifts of insight and affinity are my certification as a teacher of meditation, and two decades-plus expertise in dance and body movement.

Angela invites you to join her free love and togetherness video series.