Be Up to The Job

Defence Mechanism and Coping Strategies

Worry

Worry, in its simplest form, is projected fear. In other words, we’re thinking about a future event and applying a negative outcome. It could be work related, or just as easily, it could be something in our private life. There might be a particular task we need to undertake at work, and feel unsure of our ability, or we might be meeting someone for the first time, and we’re nervous of how we’ll come across. It is perfectly natural for us to be nervous and worried under such circumstances.

Stretching ourselves, by welcoming in change and challenge, in both personal and professional life, is very important. We can expect a certain amount of stress when stretching. The key, is to seek ways, in which we can reduce the levels of our anxiety.

The Muscle of Mind

It’s true to say, the mind is like a muscle. As with any muscle, when we place it under stress, the effect is to build its strength. In this respect, how we respond to stress and worry, is determined by the strength of our minds. Having said this, the coping strategies we’ve perfected, need to be of a positive nature. Our strength must be of a certain type.

How we deal with worry is determined by our thinking, and most importantly, by the resources we have available to us at this time. Some might think these resources include things that are easily to hand. In fact vast numbers of us turn to those things – to include drink and drugs. In the long term though, these things ultimately only add, to our problems.

Resources

Allow me to give you a simple example of how it’s possible to amplify stress and worry through lack of resources. It’s often the case that when seeking to better our circumstances, there’s a tendency, to just focus on the financial aspects. A manager I’m aware of did such a thing when applying for a job she now has. The unfortunate reality – that her area manager has now begun to realise – is she lacks sufficient resources to be properly effective in this new role.

Training

You might now think the answer would be for her to undergo the necessary training to raise her skills level. Although this is the obvious answer, going back to the blackboard, as it where, doesn’t suit everyone. What if a person’s defence and coping strategies have become irreversible and unnavigable? When this is the case, any training given, is likely met with such incredulity, condescension and contradiction, that it becomes completely ineffective.

As you might have already guessed, this is the case, and so we now have a business that’s declining, and a manager that’s becoming increasingly stressed, as a result. Neither the staff around her, or the area manager, seem able to do anything about it. They’re left staring open-mouthed, innocently witnessing her progressive and inevitable, melt-down. Sad but true. You can read a slightly tongue in cheek account of a staff members views here.

Defence Mechanism and Coping Strategies

We all have them and it’s important to recognise how they might be affecting our performance and well-being. Our defence can be to completely ignore advice and guidance – blindly believing we can manage without it. Our coping strategy might be the pills. It might be an addiction to sugar or perhaps we’re over eating and drinking too much. As odd as it might sound, the manager mentioned above, copes through gambling. It’s a means of distraction and route to the melt-down she’s unconsciously seeking. More stress? You bet; excuse for the pun.

So the questions we must ask ourselves are these:

What are my coping stratagies?

Am I up to the job?

In what way is my mind (ego) defending me?

Do I believe I’m capable?

Personal Development is the way and the means to raising our self-awareness. There is a way to reduce our need for coping strategies and defence mechanisms. You can find your application form here.

Ruthless Determination

Effective Leadership

Effective Leadership

There are of course important and necessary formulas for effective leadership

The most respected leaders are those who set the best examples. You’ll forgive me for sounding a little cliched when I say: ‘the most effective and respected leaders, are those who’re never likely to ask someone to do something, they wouldn’t be prepared to do themselves. It’s so very true.

Naturally then it follows, if we, as leaders, expect those we lead to better themselves and develop, we must be prepared to do this for ourselves

Becoming involved in our style of Personal and Professional Development will enable you to better understand yourself. Once you do, you’ll better understand those you lead. If you want to get the best – and eliminate the worst – from your team, understanding what motivates or limits them respectively, is paramount. When we understand this of ourselves, it places us in a powerful position, in terms of leadership.  

Are your beliefs correctly placed so you may lead in ways that assumes nothing of the people in your charge?

What we believe and expect of people will ultimately either prove to be their making or their downfall. For example, the mistake leaders often make, is to underestimate. Our estimations are built on our beliefs. When we’re able to question how and where we may be going wrong, we’re able to free ourselves, from the common error, of underestimation.

Your people are a direct reflection of you

It takes courage to ask ourselves where we might be going wrong when members of our team slip-up. Healthy relationships between team members are important ingredients to the success of any business. How healthy are your relationships? How healthy is the relationship you have with yourself? Could there be improved personal stability? If so, don’t be surprised if team relationships are strained, or poor. Better understand you and the rest will follow.

Take some time to explore and consider how a development workshop could help your leadership skills. Find your application form here.

One-upmanship

For the Love of You

“Gamesmanship skills are important if we’re to make it through life in an easy and comfortable way. Understand the games of others better.”

Gamesmanship and mirrors
Gamesmanship and mirrors

You meet someone for the first time and you think: ‘Um…. not sure I like this person.’ They may seem a little conceited or arrogant or sanctimonious, or whatever. So you decide to not bother getting to know them any better and move on.

Or how about you meet someone for the first time and they come across as a lovely warm and kind person. You decide: ‘Yum… I’d like to get to know this person better,’ so you stick around.

“For the curious though, wondering what it is that makes these impressions so powerful, is an interesting way to move forward and know ourselves better.”

Put in its most basic terms – and so that we may take out any potential conundrum or confusion – all that we see, within those around us, exists within us.

Put another way, each and every person is simply a mirror of ourselves. This understanding is an extremely effective way of coming to terms with a deeper self. A deeper self the ego would prefer we didn’t see, and would prefer to protects us from (just one of the reasons why you may be dismissing what I’m currently saying).

When we know ourselves better we’re closer to becoming a whole human being, and once this is achieved, the improved comfort and ease with which we view others, helps us to lead more flowing, less stressful lives. An aspect of stress, is created when we’re less comfortable with ourselves and less at ease due to a self that harbours conflict and confusion.

blackboard5

“There’s no doubt, the world would be a much more comfortable and happier place, if we all knew ourselves better.”

Along with the understanding just given, one other thing that would make our world and your internal state more harmonious, would be to gain an explicit understanding of a game called… one-upmanship.

The way of us humans is to be in charge of each other, on one level or another, all of the time. This is particularly the case with those who lack an understanding of the self. This lack can tend to lead to less control over themselves, and those who lack control over themselves, seek control over others.

To a greater or lesser degree we all play the game of one-upmanship. Whether it be the disabled individual barging his way through crowds on pavements with his new invalid carriage. Or whether it be the individual who has achieved high status academically, both, are playing the game of one-upmanship. The game of ‘I’m better than you.’

Incidentally, there is one school of thought that suggests the disability – that put our friend in the invalid carriage to begin with – was actually gained in order to be (in their eyes) better equipped to win the game! And so what of our high achievers?

“Just how desperate are we to win this game? A game that can be particularly tricky to play as the methods employed can be very, very subtle indeed.”

Of course, the easiest way to rise above any game, is to not play it in the first place. However, knowing the rules – of the one-upmanship game – could be considered a necessary part of life if we’re to be successful, happy and prosperous.

Simply acknowledging the existence of the game, and how we may be playing it, is fundamental if we’re to advance. A prime example would be the following:

If you’re going to meet someone, be it in business or in your personal life, be on time. Poor timekeeping is part of the game, and if we’re meeting someone, who fully understands this, you’ll be creating stress and disharmony, before you’ve even started.

And so there we are, love of you, is love for everyone. This may sound a little ambitious and idealistic, yet ultimately, if we all knew our own minds and bodies better, a more harmonious world it would be.

Personal Development

Alter the Filters

Golden Cog Gears with Personal Development Concept.

“Allow me to paint a picture for you. You’re in a dilemma. Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, as the saying goes. On the one hand you have the option of a gamble – plain and simple.”

You put your money down and then wait and see if your numbers come up. On the other hand you have a private pension, that you’ve ignored for many, many years and yet now feel you’re in a position to start contributing some regular cash, but only if you don’t gamble. It’s a one or the other situation.

The gamble is a business venture, that has no guarantees, no insurance etc, but requires large sums of money before any income is likely to be seen. The pension currently has a pot that’s just about large enough to piss in. You can’t touch this until retirement age and to make the pot bigger, than simply one you could only piss in, you must start contributing, and do this right now.

Option one, you gamble and potentially open up your life in extraordinary ways. Option two, you live a steady, safe and predictable life, feeling relatively comfortable. Neither happy nor unhappy.

Okay, picture painted. Now, the main reason for this dilemma is the fact you don’t gamble. In fact, so averse to gambling are you, that after taking up the offer of a fun night out at the local casino, all that happened was you spent the whole evening desperately trying to win back the two hundred pounds you lost within the first half hour. On returning home, after this ‘fun’ night out, you promptly threw up! That’s an aversion to gambling.

Let me take your mind back. Imagine the main reason for your aversion to gambling is a complex set up by your father. This is to say, during your childhood it was drummed into you, through no uncertain terms, that “gambling is a mug’s game!” Many would agree. However, spending a little time with a Personal Development Coach, Counsellor or Hypnotherapist may well show you some clear and interesting distinctions.

“In business you do need to be prepared to take a gamble. A complex established in childhood, similar to the one described above, will be limiting you.”

The way in which we filter, and as such see and experience our lives, is primarily through our early lessons and the beliefs formed from them. Professional assistance would help you remove these filters (provided they were a Licenced GOLD Counsellors that is) and help you understand the limiting nature of the generalisation: Not ALL gambling is a mugs game.

On the surface you may be thinking: what’s the problem, just be sensible and put your cash into the pension. Surely it’s the better option; the safe option? And my response would be this: Where did playing safe ever get us? When we ask the individual in question about the person who taught them: gambling’s a mugs game, what are we likely to learn? That they led a safe life? Umm… to me, safe means: predictable, boring and humdrum. A sort of half life.

So there we are: If you truly want to live, Alter the Filters. They’re not always there for our better good. Live a little, take a gamble, you’ll never regret it. And besides, retirement, what exactly is that then, time to start dying?

One-upmanship

One-upmanship, For the Love of You (part 2)

king or queen of love

We’re so busy aren’t we? So much going on, we’ve barely got time for each other. And it’s all got so damn competitive hasn’t it? Back-biting, backstabbing, bitching, scraping, scheming, gossiping, it’s all going on, and these are just some of the things we’re conscious of, never mind the subtle stuff we barely recognise. Is this just the way of it? The way of the world? The way things are?

“It all seems like a desperate fight for survival. A dog-eat-dog world, the self-preservation society, the land of the fittest. Everyone seems to be playing the game of one-upmanship to its utmost, and if you don’t know the rules of the game, and can’t seem to make any sense of the confusion this brings, then basically, you’re screwed.”

It could well be that the vast majority of us are now playing the game of one-upmanship so well, we could describe our game playing skills as having become: unconscious competence. In the same way we learn to drive a car, initially it feels very awkward and unsystematic, yet now, if we’ve been driving for some time, it becomes unthinking and automatic.

“In other words, we’ve being playing the game for so long, we rarely think about the rules, and how to play on any kind of conscious level.”

There is a major problem here though. If we’re no longer conscious of playing a game, then the game itself, is out of control. How we play has become sloppy and slovenly. For example, consider what a driving examiner would make of your driving, if you took a test now. There’s a good chance many drivers would fail this test, perhaps the examiner would be appalled at how aggressive or nonchalant and lazy it has all become.

For further example, imagine a game of chess where the players no longer gently think things over, and then move their pieces into place, instead they smash them around the board in an aggressive and unthinking way. The manner in which they take their opponent’s pieces, is to simply discard them, and throw them on the ground. Definitely not how a game of chess should be played.

Coming back to the analogy of driving for a moment, along with failing to pass a test, an added problem is, if we drive in a slovenly lazy or aggressive way, we wear out our cars more quickly, and experience accidents or near misses more often.

And so what of this out of control game of one-upmanship? An overly competitive world, where we often feel threatened by newcomers, strangers or even people we know, is part of the problem. In such instances, we often act in a dismissive or rude manner, in order to gain the advantage.

A world where we must fight for the advantage, in any way we can, leaves us living in a place filled with lack, and to a degree, sadness. It feels like such a sad place when we’ve lost our kindness and time for each other because we fear, either being taken advantage of, or indeed losing the advantage.

“One-upmanship can be as subtle as not even bothering to say hello when we know this will have a negative effect on a kind and warm person. We may look to bring people down in order to gain the advantage. Why should we say hello? Why should we call and wish someone happy birthday? Why should we give anyone the time of day?”

Any moments of unkindness or coldness toward our fellow man – because we fear it may place us at disadvantage – are wasted opportunities. Any time we’re not living as independently as we can, dependant on others, feeding illusions of control, harbouring feelings of inferiority, are misguided moments.

Furthermore, when the mind – at an unconscious level – sees dis-ease as the answer to gaining control over others, and winning the pointless, hateful game of one-upmanship, this, is heartbreaking to see. In fact, we could say: our failing awareness of the competitive, ego-driven, fighting-for-the-top world, we currently live in, is killing us.

If we stop reaching for the top, and reach within instead, we’ll find something interesting: our higher self. Beyond our destructive, game-playing-ego, there’s an awareness and a cleverness waiting patiently. Hello.

Courage

Courage

Courage
Courage

“What is courage? Do you know any truly courageous people? What character traits would define a courageous person? Someone who can climb mountains?”

Perhaps this would depend on whether this was a real or metaphorical mountain, some might say the real ones are easy, and climbing has nothing to do with courage, just everything to do with bravado, and stamina.

Is a person who spends their life doing what they feel they must do, as opposed to what they want to do, a courageous person? You know, the person who bravely caries out their duty to others. Is that bravery or simply foolishness?

What about the firefighter or the soldier, are they brave? Saving lives or taking lives, surely there’s bravery there? Could you walk into a burning building, pull the trigger or go into battle, putting your life on the line? Bravery or simply foolishness? Testosterone and bravado? You decide.

And what about professionals? The people who hold high positions in society, such as representatives of government or professional bodies such as doctors, dentists and surgeons, they’re brave people right?

“Holding such a position must carry certain responsibilities that require strength of character and courage to endure.”

For example, is it a brave thing for a professor – who represents dental surgeons – to be on the side of the children, who come to see his dentists, as opposed to the parents who bring them? Can we just assume, that a person who holds such a lofty position in society, naturally understands his duty?

Does such a person naturally understand that he has a duty to display backbone and strongly advise and educate parents to do the right thing by our children? Surely denying a child time with a dentist, is a reflection of ignorance and neglect, is it not?

The reality is, when it comes to protecting the rights of the child, many professionals are unlikely to ‘commit career suicide’ by siding with the child and admonishing neglectful parents. It seems the parent is the one with all the rights and the child is secondary; another example of our topsy turvy world.

It has been noted that as many as 187,000 fewer children experienced the excellent services of a dentist in 2015/2016 simply because – as the professor mentioned above stated: “parents may have different priorities than taking their child to a dentist.”

Courage and how it’s viewed will obviously depend on the beliefs, views and experiences of the individual. Some may consider the bravest individuals to be the ones who simply devote themselves to living a good life and doing the right thing by the vulnerable.

“Doing the right thing is something that demands courage. Swimming against the tide takes courage. Standing firmly by your convictions takes courage.”

When we truly understand what integrity is, what love is, and what it means to protect the rights of the vulnerable, courage is demanded in such measure, that it becomes hard to define.

When we begin to see our children as the precious – so precious – investment in our future that they are, all of us will come to understand: if we don’t start showing the necessary courage and fortitude needed to protect the rights of the child, professional suicide or not, our future will be lost.

True courage is displayed by those who understand what fear is, and how the human mind may look to rid itself of this emotion, in a negative and destructive way.

Climbing mountains and stepping into burning buildings, is how understanding, emphatic individuals, rid themselves of this fear. Cowards rid themselves of fear by looking to control and frighten our vulnerable. Failing to protect our children is the worst kind of cowardice. A cowardice, that unfortunately for many of our children, is all too common.