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How to Find Your Purpose and Passion

DSCF6307WHow to Find Your Purpose and Passion

1. Get More Action

You can’t think your way into finding your life purpose; you have to do your way into it. Take a mental note from Nike and Just Do It. The more we act, the more we get clear on things. So instead of overthinking it — Will this work out? Should I try that? What if I don’t like it? What if I don’t make money at it? Start taking steps toward your goals and start trying new things. This will help you get out of your own way. I struggled for years trying to find out what my purpose was. This cycle only created a deeper lack of clarity. It wasn’t until I started doing that things changed for me. I began writing, and sent a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul. The second I received the letter of acceptance was unlike any ever before, love flooded into my heart and I knew that this was what I had to do with my life. You see though, I had to start writing to learn that my biggest passion was indeed writing. That only came with consistent action.

The experience is the reward; clarity comes through the process of exploring. Action is where you get results.

2. Drop From Your Head to Your Heart

Your heart is your best tool to access your true purpose and passion. Ask yourself what you love? Start taking steps to do what you love. When you are inspired and connected to your happy self, inspiration floods your heart and soul. When you lead from your heart, you are naturally more joyful and motivated to explore. By doing what you love, you will be inspired and gain insights into what brings you the most joy.

3. Break Up with The “ONE”

Many of us struggle because we try to find that ONE thing that we are meant to do; but trying to find only one thing is the reason why we feel like something is missing. The notion that we have only one thing we are meant for limits us from fulfilling our greatness. Take me for example; I have six different job titles. I’m a life coach, travel writer, author, speaker, teacher, mentor, designer, and each thing I do brings me joy, but none of these are my purpose, they are my passions. So start getting in touch with your passions! When you lead a passionate life you are living your life on purpose.

Let go of thinking there is only one purpose for you and embrace the idea that our purpose in life is to love life fully by putting ourselves into our life! This means we jump in and try new things; we stop resisting the unknown and we fully engage in what is happening right here, where we are. To lead a purposeful life, follow your passions. When we live a passion-filled life we are living on purpose, and that is the purpose of life.

That feeling that something is missing goes away when you lead a passion-filled life. The need to seek our purpose comes from a lack of passion. When you don’t feel connected to your life, you lack purpose and passion. To fix this emptiness simply add more passion. To boil it down, remember this simple equation:

Passion + Daily Action = Purposeful Life

Consider that the real purpose of anyone’s life is to be fully involved in living. Try to be present for the journey and fully embrace it. Soon you will be oozing with passion, and you will feel so purposeful and fulfilled you will wonder how you lived life without it. Enjoy the journey into your own awesome life.

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A simple 10 minute guide to amazing self-talk

A simple 10 minute guide to amazing self-talk
We each have many thousands of thoughts every day. Many of them come in the form of self-talk. How you talk to yourself is important for your confidence and self-belief but incredibly; it is often overlooked. Self-talk is a soundtrack that’s constantly playing in your head, and its impact is dramatic. The conversations you have with yourself help determine your emotions and actions. Think about it for a minute; if you are consistently beating yourself up, how can you ever expect to feel good about yourself or believe in yourself? And, as the old question goes, if you don’t believe in yourself, why would anybody else?

Discover The Fundamentals of a Positive Mindset

What are the consequences of negative self-talk?
One of the most common problems you will see from those with poor self-talk habits is that they consistently seek the approval of others. They are willing to give on their own wants, needs and desires in order to gain the approval of others. This is an incredibly unhealthy habit which leads to a severe lack of enjoyment and fulfillment along with a great deal of stress, anxiety and worry. And, it often stems from a lack of self-belief and self-esteem; evidenced by negative self-talk.

Dealing with negative self-talk
Do not underestimate the power of negative self-talk. If you are consistently reinforcing low opinions of yourself, you will come to believe them and act as if they are real. You may not even be aware of the full extent of your negative self-talk but when you’re armed with a little knowledge, you can make some really positive changes.
The following points will help you to learn about the different types of self-talk and how to use them to your advantage.

Self-Talk in General
1. Raise your awareness
Self-talk is so natural that you may not even realize what you’ve been saying to yourself all these years. With any change that you wish to make in your life, you need to become aware of the full extent of the problem before you can set about changing it.

The first step is to become conscious of the commentary you create about your life. Whenever you find yourself in a negative mood, pay attention to the things that you are saying to yourself and how they make you feel. You will soon begin to realise the level of damage that you are doing to yourself.

2. Disrupt old patterns
Just because you are saying it to yourself, it does not mean that it must be true. Do not be afraid to dispute your self-talk (yes you can have a little argument with yourself). Challenge any unduly harsh criticism by telling yourself, out loud if possible, that those comments are untrue and you are over reacting.

Self-talk is also a tool for making changes. For example, if you are beating yourself up about a lack of knowledge or skill, you can use this as an opportunity to create a learning plan for yourself and improve your knowledge and skills.
Note: if you are not prepared to tackle the knowledge or skill deficit, then the issue must not be that important for you so, let it go.

A friend of mine regularly beat himself up about not making the most of his schooling. I asked him if he was prepared to go back to education (at night) and he said ‘No’. I then asked him how it served him to keep beating himself up about something which he was not prepared to do anything about. He soon realised the folly of his behavior and he has since made some improvements.

3. Conduct a reality check
Assess how your self-talk measures up to what’s really happening around you. There’s a big difference between burning one slice of toast and being a failure in the kitchen.
Disputation is a powerful tool. Do not just accept what you say in your self-talk. Challenge any negative thoughts until you have developed a more realistic viewpoint. You don’t have to force yourself to be optimistic about everything but you do need to avoid undue negativity.

4. Talk it over
Feedback from others is also valuable. See how your impressions compare to what your coworkers or partner say about you. You must remember that you cannot be truly objective in your own life, thus making it hard to be completely realistic. Friends tend to be more objective (though not always) and will generally be more realistic in their assessments.
Gaining a 360-degree view on yourself, from people whom you can trust to be honest, will help you to be more realistic.

5. Be consistent
If you are negative with your self-talk, it didn’t happen overnight. You will have been telling yourself the same negative messages, over and over again, until you got to a point where you accepted them as true. That is the power of consistency. The good thing is that you can use consistency to your advantage too.
We need to hear a message multiple times before we accept it. So, instead of the negative messages which you have been feeding yourself, choose a kinder, more supportive message which you can give to yourself. Whenever you find yourself been negative, take charge of your self-talk and deliver this message to yourself, repeatedly. Your inner dialogue will grow wiser with practice and your self-talk will gradually become kinder.

6. Regard yourself as a friend
We sometimes speak more harshly to ourselves than we would to anyone else. Instead, talk to yourself as though you were a loving friend. Seek to be truthful and supportive with yourself.

Motivational Self-Talk
1. Build up your strength
Motivational self-talk tends to work best in situations that require endurance and confidence. A pep talk can boost your confidence and make you believe in your worth and abilities.
Don’t expect it to happen overnight. Remember that before you truly believe a message, you must receive that message repeatedly. Every time that you are in a position which requires some motivational self-talk, take the opportunity to deliver your positive message. With every use, you will believe it that little bit more.

2. Find your hot buttons
Not every message will work for every person. Certain words resonate better with some than others. To find the right message, you may need to do a little experimenting. Have some fun to find the message that resonates best with you.
Choose words that invigorate you. You may want to call yourself a superhero or remind yourself that you’re awesome.

3. Keep it brief
Don’t try to deliver a rousing speech like Mel Gibson in ‘Braveheart’. It’s a bit like saying ‘No’ to someone. If you provide too much information, you give them something to argue with and pick holes in so, you are better off just saying ‘No’.

When giving yourself a motivational pep talk, don’t give yourself anything to argue with. Using single words and short phrases helps you stay on track. You’ll be more likely to focus on your assets without getting distracted by nagging doubts.

Instructional Self-Talk
1. Start early
New projects provide an ideal opportunity for instructional self-talk. Coach yourself during the important beginning stages. Be kind, gentle and supportive; just as you would be if you were coaching somebody else.
This provides a great opportunity to be proactive with your self-talk. Because you are being proactive and positive, you will drown out much of the negative self-talk which you may have become accustomed to. Instead of 100% negative self-talk, you will dilute it down with every positive piece of self-talk that you deliver.

2. Be precise
Break tasks down into specific steps. If you’re working on your public speaking, urge yourself to make eye contact, talk at an appropriate pace, and sound enthusiastic during your speech.
It is best to just focus on one or two of these habits with each speech. You will soon find that you do them without thinking about them and you can then focus on a different new habit for the next speech.

3. Visualize success
Picture yourself getting the results you want. Self-talk doesn’t always take the form of words. The images you present yourself with will also deliver either a positive or negative message. When you focus on a positive imagery i.e. achieving your goals, you are reminding yourself that you can do it; that you have the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to be a success.

Positive visualization is one of the most powerful self-talk habits that you can practice. They say that a picture paints 1,000 words so make sure that you are focusing on positive, empowering imagery.

Reassuring Self-Talk
1. Acknowledge your feelings
Soothing self-talk can help you manage tense moments with more comfort and skill. For best results, accept your emotions instead of trying to suppress them. You can act courageously even if you feel afraid.

2. Create distance
A recent study found that calling yourself by name or substituting the word “you” instead of “I” enabled people to perform better under stress. It’s one way to restore objectivity when you’re feeling pressured.

3. Look on the bright side
Self-talk won’t make life’s challenges disappear. Bad things happen and if you want to continue to grow and thrive, you need to take on bigger and bigger challenges. There will be times when you have doubts and difficulties but these are opportunities to advance yourself.

So how can self-talk help? It can help you respond more constructively. Instead of criticising yourself for a past misstep, concentrate on what you can do better in the future.? It enables you to realise that you are a fallible human being. You understand that just as you have the ability to You don’t have to live with negative self-talk. It doesn’t have to be something which just happens. If you leave your negative self-talk unchallenged, the consequences will continue to get worse, to the point where they cripple your self-belief and self-esteem.

Instead, you can channel your self-talk and start moving in a positive direction. Get in touch with the thoughts that automatically run through your head, and turn them into a steady stream of encouragement. You’ll reduce stress, enhance your self-confidence, and enjoy more success in life.

LISTEN TO YOURSELF AND YOU

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A great deal of bad time management comes from trying to do what everyone else wants you to do.

A great deal of unhappiness and lost confidence comes from trying to do what everyone else wants you to do.

Whether you want to be:

  • Productive
  • Successful
  • Happy
  • Confident

Or any of the above; you need to dedicate your life to living from the inside out. In other words, you need to be true to your purpose, values and; set goals which are truly your goals.

Listen to yourself and you’ll always be happy

Coaching requires the coach to spend a great deal of time listening the client. When appropriate, the coach will interject with a question. There are a number of reasons why the coach may choose to ask a particular question but quite often the question is saying one thing to the client – listen to yourself.

listen to yourself header

It is important that the client does not just listen to the words they speak, but also to the way in which they say it and the feelings they experience when they say it. This is listening at a much deeper level than most people are used to. When you listen to yourself, you live your values and pursue your dreams. This is one of the most effective strategies for reducing stress and increasing personal happiness.

We all like to offer advice to our friends but sometimes, when we are offering that advice from the depths of our heart, we are not just speaking to our friends, we are also speaking to ourselves. So, take the time to listen to yourself; it may be the wisest advice you ever receive.

Avoiding conflict while dealing with difficult people

Avoiding conflict while dealing with difficult people

1234455​There will always be people in your life who make things difficult for you. In most cases, they won’t be deliberately making your life more difficult but in some cases, they may do so. Either way, you need to take action to make sure these people stop having a negative impact on your life. If you sit quietly and do nothing, these difficult situations will continue; maybe even get worse. If you do decide to deal with the issue, you run the risk of the situation escalating into a conflict. Avoiding conflict is important for your sense of peace and happiness but you can’t put up with poor treatment just so you can avoid conflict. The good news is that dealing with difficult situations and avoiding conflict can go hand in hand. You just need the right strategies and a little forward thinking.

There will always be people in your life who make things difficult for you. In most cases, they won’t be deliberately making your life more difficult but in some cases, they may do so. Either way, you need to take action to make sure these people stop having a negative impact on your life. If you sit quiet and do nothing, these difficult situations will continue; maybe even get worse. If you do decide to deal with the issue, you run the risk of the situation escalating into a conflict. Avoiding conflict is important for your sense of peace and happiness but you can’t put with poor treatments just so you can avoid conflict. The good news is that dealing situations and avoiding conflict can go hand in hand. You just need the right strategies and a little forward thinking.

Note

There is no such thing as a difficult person. It is just a repeated pattern of difficult behavior which that person chooses to use. However, for illustrative purposes, people find it clearer when we use the term ‘difficult people/person’ so I will use that term. Just make sure that when you find yourself in a difficult situation, you focus on the behavior rather than the person as that will get you the best results.

You can improve your communication and relationship skills with my FREE Checklist – Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Difficult People.

Get Your FREE Copy!

​4 Powerful Strategies for avoiding conflict 

4 Powerful Strategies for avoiding conflict

​The following are four strategies which you can employ to deal with difficult situations while still making avoiding conflict a key aim:

The following are four strategies which you can employ to deal with difficult situations while still making avoiding conflict a key aim:

​1. Set boundaries

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  1. Set boundaries

​There are certain behaviors which will never be acceptable to you. You may get angry when somebody behaves in that way but do you have the right to? Have you communicated the fact that you won’t tolerate that behavior? That is what setting boundaries is all about. If other people are clear about what you will and will not accept, you will find that most people will happily avoid the unacceptable behaviors and thus avoid the conflict that may come with them.

Boundaries are really one of the best tools for avoiding conflict. Unfortunately, many people feel as though they have effectively set boundaries when they have not. They stop at the point where they have determined what is and is not acceptable. In doing so, they fail to make it clear to others.

If the people who interact with you regularly are not clear about your boundaries then you have not set the boundaries properly. When communicating, you must remember that the meaning of your message is the meaning received by the other person. For example, ignoring somebody​des not constitute communicating that you are unhappy with something they have said or done. You have only communicated that message when you have explicitly informed them that they said or did something wrong and you have made sure that they understand.

When setting boundaries, you may need to give the message more than once but once you have done so, avoiding conflict becomes easier because people know the consequence of the unacceptable behavior and are more motivated to avoid that consequence.

If you have trouble setting boundaries, check out My Life; My Rules

There are certain behavior which will never be acceptable to you. You may get angry when somebody behaves in that way but do you have the right to? Have you communicated the fact that you won’t tolerate that behavior? That is what setting boundaries is all about. If other people are clear about what you will and will not accept, you will find that most people will happily avoid the behavior and thus avoid the conflict that may come with it.

Boundaries are really one of the best tools for avoiding conflict. Unfortunately, many people feel as though they have effectively set boundaries when they have not. They stop at the point where they have determined what is and is not acceptable. In doing so, they fail to make it clear to others.

If the people who interact with you regularly are not clear about your boundaries then you have not set the boundaries properly. When communicating, you must remember that the meaning of your message is the meaning received by the other person. For example, ignoring somebody is not communicating that you are unhappy with something they have said or done. You have only communicated that message when you have explicitly informed them that they said or did something wrong and you have made sure that they understand.

When setting boundaries, you may need to give the message more than once but once you have done so, avoiding conflict becomes easier because people know the consequence of the unacceptable behavior and more motivated to avoid that consequence.

If you have trouble setting boundaries, check out My Life; My Rules

​2. Don’t blame

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  1. Don’t blame

​Eliminating blame is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards avoiding conflict. Blame puts people on the defensive. They feel like they are being attacked and nobody wants to feel that way. Blaming somebody else when things go wrong can lead to them lashing out at you or others. Alternatively, it can lead to them withdrawing back into their shell which doesn’t serve anyone either. The same goes for when you blame yourself.

Blame implies that somebody did wrong deliberately. It assumes that they were acting with negative intentions. Life is far better and conflict is rarer when we assume that other people always act with positive intentions the better approach is to encourage everybody to accept responsibility and demonstrate the same yourself.

Accepting responsibility is one of the most powerful things you can do. You are saying that something you did contributed to the negative results. This means that if you change that behavior and choose a better option, you are going to get a better outcome next time.  The important thing to note here is that you are focusing on the behaviors/actions which contributed to the unwanted outcome; you are not blaming the individual. Your aim is to work together to find the best way forward; a way that will allow everybody to enjoy a win.

Related article
: Accepting responsibility

Eliminating blame is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards avoiding conflict. Blame puts people on the defensive. They feel like they are being attacked and nobody wants to feel that way. Blaming somebody else when things go wrong can lead to them lashing out at you or others. Alternatively, if can lead to them withdrawing back into their shell which doesn’t serve anyone either. The same goes for when you blame yourself.

Blame implies that somebody did wrong deliberately. It assumes that they were acting with negative intentions. Life is far better and conflict is rarer when we assume that other people always act with positive intentions the better approach is to encourage everybody to accept responsibility and demonstrate the same yourself.

Accepting responsibility is one of the most powerful things you can do. You are saying that somethings you did contributed to the negative results. This means that if you change that behavior and choose a better option, you are going to get a better outcome next time.  The important thing to note here is that you are focusing on the behaviors/actions which contributed to the unwanted outcome; you are not blaming the individual. Your aim is to work together to find the best way forward; a way that will allow everybody to enjoy a win.

Related article: Accepting responsibility

​You can deal with difficult situations and avoid conflict at the same time

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​3. Choose your words wisely

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  1. Choose your words wisely

​It is very easy to blame others or assign responsibility to them when you are feeling bad e.g. you say that they made you angry. They didn’t make you angry. They behaved whatever way they behaved and you chose your response. You may not realise you chose it as it may have been a subconscious decision but the choice of response was definitely yours.

To realise this, you only have to notice how 2 different people can respond differently to the same situation. If two people react differently to the same situation then it can’t be the situation which determines the response. It must be the individual who chooses their own response.  So nobody else made you angry, jealous, disappointed etc. You chose that response yourself.

Remember that blame causes others to go on the defensive so, even a subtle switch from blame to responsibility can have a massive role in avoiding conflict. For example, rather than say ‘You made me angry’ you could say ‘I feel angry when you do…’ It may not seem like a lot but you are no longer blaming the other person; you are taking ownership of your own feelings.

Related article: 5 Tips to harness the power of words

It is very easy to blame others or assign responsibility to them when you are feeling bad e.g. you say that they made you angry. They didn’t make you angry. They behaved whatever way they behaved and you chose your response. You may not realize you chose it as it may have been a subconscious decision but the choice of response was definitely yours.

To realize this, you only have to notice how 2 different people can respond differently to the same situation. If two people react differently to the same situation then it can’t be the situation which determines the response. It must be the individual who chooses their own response.  So nobody else made you angry, jealous, disappointed etc. You chose that response yourself.

Remember that blame causes others to go on the defensive so, even a subtle switch from blame to responsibility can have a massive role in avoiding conflict. For example, rather than say ‘You made me angry’ you could say ‘I feel angry when you do…’ It may not seem like a lot but you are no longer blaming the other person; you are taking ownership of your own feelings.

Related article: 5 Tips to harness the power of words

You can improve your communication and relationship skills with my FREE Checklist – Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Difficult People.

Get Your FREE Copy!

​4. Have predetermined calming measures

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  1. Have predetermined calming measures

​I have always done some weight training throughout my life. When you are lifting weights lighter than you can manage, you can lift safely on your own; though safety measures should always be taken. As the weights increase, it is best to have somebody ‘spot’ you. This means that they are there in case you are struggling with the weight so that they can intervene to help you avoid injury.  Effectively, you are planning your way out before you begin.

Avoiding conflict can be approached in much the same way i.e. have a plan for calming things down before the conversation begins. This is especially important if you think there is a reasonable chance that the situation might escalate into an argument or; where you are interacting with the other person regularly and you know how they behave during a difficult conversation.

Some strategies you could use include:

I have always done some weight training throughout my life. When you are lifting weights lighter than you can manage, you can lift safely on your own; thought safety measures should always be taken. As the weights increase, it is best to have somebody ‘spot’ you. This means that they are there in case you are struggling with the weight so that they can intervene to help you avoid injury.  Effectively, you are planning your way out before you begin.

Avoiding conflict can be approached in much the same way i.e. have a plan for calming things down before the conversation begins. This is especially important if you think there is a reasonable chance that the situation might escalate into an argument or; where you are interacting with the other person regularly and you know how they behave during a difficult conversation.

Some strategies you could use include:

Use a specific technique e.g. the constructive feedback model

  • ​Agree that both sides will get to have their say and then you will both take 24 hours to think about how you would like to respond i.e. a cool off period

Agree that both sides will get to have their say and then you will both take 24 hours to think about how you would like to respond i.e. a cool off period

  • Set a time limit for the discussion

​Having a strategy for calming things down helps with avoiding conflict and helps both parties to focus on resolving the issue before it escalates into a conflict.

If you are having to deal with difficult people and you want to start avoiding conflict, the Deal with Difficult People Handbook will help you get on the right track.

Having a strategy for calming things down helps with avoiding conflict and helps both parties to focus on resolving the issue before it escalates into a conflict.
If you are having to deal with difficult people and you want to start avoiding conflict, the Deal with Difficult People Handbook will help you get on the right track.

​Conclusion

​Avoiding conflict is one of the most important things that  ​you can do if  ​you want to live a peaceful, loving and happy life. That doesn’t mean  ​you should avoid dealing with issues which need to be dealt with. In fact, if you don’t deal with those important issues, you will experience conflict anyway because other people won’t change their behavior or attitude unless you tell them that you won’t tolerate it anymore. However, most difficult situations can be dealt with successfully while still avoiding conflict. If you take the time to implement the four strategies, above, your attempts at avoiding conflict will become much easier and you will still be able to deal with any issues which may arise.

 

You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it

Do you know people who always seem great in a crisis? It is easy to think of them as great problems solvers. You may even think of them as having problem solving skills which you do not possess. That is not necessarily true.

The most important factor in dealing with a crisis is the ability to stay calm and composed. It is only when you are calm and composed that you can think clearly and explore all your available options.

This makes is easier to find the right solution to the problem because you are focused on the solution, not the problem.The solution is rarely anything new or super creative.
It is usually just a matter of being able to stay calm enough to remember what you already know.

When you lose your composure, you focus solely on the problem. Because you can’t think clearly, you can’t assess the situation accurately and you can’t access the immense wisdom you already possess.You remain stuck in the same mindset that created the problem and as Einstein said:
‘You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it’

If you look at any job that must deal with high pressure situations, a large part of the training focuses on the ability to remain calm and composed under pressure.

That’s because:

  • It is the first step in problem solving
  • It prevents difficult situations from becoming problems
  • It prevents problems from escalating and taking on a life of their own

Your work might not be what we would normally think of as high pressure but we all face pressure daily. Remaining calm and composed will reduce the problems in your life and help you deal with the problems which could not be prevented.

It is often the difference between high productivity and high stress levels.

I GIVE THANKS

I give thanks to you, O Lord,

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TO GOD BE THE GLORY

For what you’ve blessed me with
The abundance of the blessings
From heaven that you give

 

For I have all received from you
The abundance from your hand
In many varied and different ways,
You’ve blessed us in this land

I only need to look around
At what you, Lord, have given,
To see the many blessings I have
And see your full provision

 

So, Lord, to you I give our thanks
With full and grateful hearts,
The blessing of family, friends and love
And just for who you are.

ASANTE BABA!!

11 Behavioural symptoms of stress

Like most problems; the sooner you spot stress the easier it is to manage. It pays to be familiar with the many different symptoms of stress. The symptoms of stress fall into many different categories e.g. behavioural, physical, emotional, psychological etc. Over the coming weeks I shall be discussing each of these, however, this week I shall begin with the behavioural symptoms of stress.

Stress can affect behaviour in many different ways but the following tend to be the most common behavioural symptoms of stress.

You can discover 10 Poweful Resourcs to eliminate stress with my FREE Report.

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Behavioural symptoms of stress

1. Sleeping difficulties

behavioural symptoms of stress insomnia

Sufferers of stress often find it difficult to switch off. With no activity to distract them, negative thinking, anxieties and worries take over the mind. Fear of having forgotten something and negative expectations of forthcoming events (e.g. interview, presentation) limits the ability to relax sufficiently to fall asleep. Sleep shortage and insomnia are often tell-tale signs of stress.

 2. Lack of punctuality

behavioural symptoms of stress poor punctuality

Timekeeping is one of the first things to suffer when an individual becomes stressed. They may take too many tasks on; try to avoid tasks and thus leave them until the last minute or they may be so overcome with worry/anxiety that they become forgetful. In order to remedy the situation, they must first identify why their punctuality is so poor.

 3. Absenteeism

behavioural symptoms of stress absenteeism

Stressed individuals tend to regularly miss work. They may be trying to avoid a difficult situation or they may be suffering the consequences of one of their coping mechanisms e.g. alcohol.

 4. Withdrawal

behavioural symptoms of stress withdrawal

Withdrawal is a common behavioural symptom of stress. The individual’s self-esteem and confidence may have taken a hit and as a consequence, they may no longer feel capable of coping with social situations. In order to protect their fragile confidence, they may choose to avoid all such situations.

 5. Exhaustion

behavioural symptoms of stress exhaustion

If we are to maximise our energy, one of the most important things for us to do is to balance our physical energy. There will be times when we are required to work at our maximum output for sustained periods. In order to do this we must implement periods of deep rest which enables both our body and mind to recover. Failure to do so can eventually result in burnout and chronic fatigue. The stressed individual may feel like they are constantly running from one emergency to another and thus fail to take the time to rest and recuperate. Constant fatigue is often a sign that someone is overwhelmed and experiencing stress.

 6. Addictive/excessive behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress addictive behaviour

Those experiencing stress often don’t realise that it is stress which they are experiencing. Where they do realise this, they often have no idea how to deal with stress.  This can result in short term solutions which, though they have a temporary impact, have damaging long-term consequences. One of the most common coping mechanisms for dealing with difficulty is alcohol. While alcohol can have temporary benefit, it can be highly addictive and it fails to resolve the situation. Other coping mechanisms include smoking, illegal and prescription drugs.

 7. Unhealthy eating habits

behavioural symptoms of stress unhealthy eating

Comfort food is often sought as a solution to stressful situations. Indulging in convenience foods can make you feel better temporarily and saves time, however, these foods are rich in salt, sugar and fat which can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and heart related illnesses.

While we associate comfort eating with stress, some people have the opposite response to stressful situation i.e. they avoid eating. They may be experiencing a suppressed appetite, they may have developed a negative self image or they may have developed negative associations with food. Whatever the reason, the consequences of food avoidance can be every bit as devastating as the consequences of food indulgence.

 8. Risk-taking behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress risk

A sudden development of risk taking behaviour can be a clear sign of stress. Individuals may be experiencing a low sense of self-worth or a lack of excitement in their lives.  They need a ‘buzz’ in their life and are willing to take bigger risks in order to get that buzz. Unfortunately, they level of risk they need to take to get the ‘buzz’ may increase steadily over time. They fail to see that as the risk gets bigger, so too do the potential consequences. Gambling is a common behavioural symptom of stress, which falls within this category.  Certain extreme sports and reckless driving are some of the other symptoms of stress which may fall under risk-taking behaviour.

 9. Accidents

behavioural symptoms of stress accident

Concentration tends to suffer greatly when one experiences stress.  In certain work places (generally more manual industries) this may result in a high number of accidents both fatal and non-fatal. Along with reduced concentration, the individual may also be overworked, poorly trained, displaying risk-taking behaviour or denied sufficient rest periods; all of which may be contributory factors in the stress.

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 10. High turnover in the workplace

behavioural symptoms of stress high turnover

Stressed employees are generally unhappy in their work situation. Sadly, many workplaces have not put the necessary training and procedures in place which would allow the employee to discuss their experience with their manager so that they may work together to find a solution. Rather than raise the issue, many stressed employees will choose to seek employment elsewhere.

 11. Suicidal talk or behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress suicidal

Stress can diminish an individual’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth to the point where they feel that they cannot go on. In many such cases we do not get the opportunity to help the individual but in some cases they do drop subtle hints of their intentions. There are courses, such as ASIST, which can help to improve your chances of spotting these signs and intervening.

If you feel that you may be experiencing stress, check out Stress Free Living.

Many people feel too embarrassed or ashamed to openly discuss their experiences with stress. It is, therefore, essential that we familiarise ourselves with the behavioural symptoms of stress so that we may be able to identify what they are going through and remind them that the channels of communication are open and that we were willing to help them, or help them find more suitable help. You may in fact be experiencing stress yourself. It may be helpful to regularly remind yourself of the behavioural symptoms of stress so that you can identify it early and take appropriate action.

The 80/20 Principle…

I am a firm believer in the 80/20 principle.

It tells us that approx. 80% of our results come from approx. 20% of our actions.

The percentages are not always such but they are always heavily skewed in a manner which tells that very few of our actions produce most of our outcomes.

This tells us two things:

  1. We need to dedicate more time, energy and attention to the people and actions which produce the best outcomes for us.
  2. Most of our actions, and the people in our lives add very little, if any value to our lives.

If you think about the second point, you could cut out most of the actions and people from your life and your life would improve.

Less is more when the less is the stuff that really matters.

If you are like the average person, the following is probably true for you:

  • You spend too much time doing things which don’t need to be done
  • You spend too much time doing things which others should be doing
  • You spend too much time doing things because others want you to do them
  • You don’t spend enough time on the things which bring you the best results and most joy and happiness
  • You give too much time and attention to people who don’t add real value to your life
  • You don’t give enough time to the people who add the most value to your life

How much better would your life be if you sorted all that out?

There are 2 key steps to doing so and; you can make a start on both simultaneously.

  1. Identify the actions and people which bring the most joy and happiness into your life and dedicate more time to them.
  2. Make that time available by decluttering your life and removing the actions and people which add little or no joy and happiness to your life.

People forget about the importance of decluttering but the 80/20 principle also tells us that 5% of the people in your life will contribute about 50% of the people-related problems.

The same is likely true for actions and possessions.

So, start decluttering your life today and reap the rewards.

If you need help decluttering, this great resource will help.

Characteristics of a Bad Leader

Characteristics of a Bad Leader

We have all been on the receiving end of bad leadership and that in itself is not a bad thing because we can learn from it. What is most important is to understand the underlying forces at work in bad senior leaders.

Much has been written to tell us about the “top traits of a bad boss” or “how to deal with an awful boss.” There is some great information here that should not be ignored and the ideas presented in them help us understand the “bad boss.” But they are generally focused on failing junior and middle-level leaders and managers.

Senior leaders who are bad at leading, bring a significant dimension of trouble in an organization. While this may be obvious on the surface of the statement, what leads to it may not seem so clear.

There are three crucial factors that are at play with understanding the success or failure of a senior leader: 1) Senior Leader Character, 2) Leadership Style, and 3) their Followers.

Senior Leader Character: Many senior leaders fail because they do not have a calling to leadership. This is a lack of passion. They also rely on their own skills to do everything and are generally blind to their inadequacies and drive. Frequently they see their position in terms of privilege and power (although they don’t admit it), and will ignore the advice of others. They are essentially unprepared for leadership and are unwilling to be held accountable for their conduct.

Leadership Style: Bad senior leaders also fail to have the proper vision or any vision at all for their organization. Vision must be methodically established and pursued on behalf of the organization … not as a response to competitors, organization problems, or personal factors. The strategic vision also helps to determine leadership style because it must be pursued vigorously. Those senior leaders who pursue a vision for the wrong reasons (e.g., personal gain) will be more inclined to value employee obedience over creativity.

Their Followers: Leadership involves the interplay between the skills of the leader, the needs of the organization, and the demands of the business. Employees/followers will act according to these factors by accepting or rejecting a leader and following the senior leader willfully or mechanically. People look for leadership and guidance, and when not provided, will react to reject those in leadership positions.

There have been a number of 360-degree feedback surveys in Fortune 500 companies and the results published. The results are helpful and are indicative of the issues discussed. Here are just a few examples of bad leaders:

  • Lack of direction (improper or no vision)
  • Lack of energy and enthusiasm (no passion)
  • Have poor judgement (poor decision-making processes)
  • Don’t collaborate (sees no need to enlist the assistance of others)
  • Resist new ideas (obedience is valued over creativity and hard work)
  • Lack interpersonal skills (also unwilling to improve social skills)
  • Don’t develop others (interested for themselves, not others)

Recognizing that the characteristics of a bad senior leader as the product of all three factors (Senior Leader Character, Leadership Style, and Followers), helps us understand better how to put solutions in place. Leaders must be aware of this to begin putting the organization on the right track for future survival.

 

THE BRAND NEW YOU KICKSTARTER

The Brand New You Kickstarter

Happiness and true success in life comes from being true to who you are.

It is difficult to believe that when advertising keeps telling us that we are insufficient and thus, we need whatever product it is they are selling us.

But you really can live your life from the inside out.

Identify your purpose and be determined to pursue it.

Live true to your values so that whatever the outcomes you experience, you can be confident and comfortable that you made the right decisions.

Build your self-esteem to the point where you love and respect yourself; even when things are not going your way.

And, have the confidence to pursue any goal or objective, knowing in your heart and soul that you really can achieve it.

This isn’t just a pipe dream.

You will be at your happiest and most successful when you choose to live your life from the inside out.

You can start to take charge of your life and live from the inside out with the Brand New You Kickstarter.

But you need to take advantage of this offer before time runs out:

The Brand New You Kickstarter