Sunday 28 September 2014

Self Sabotage-Why Let Other People Mess You Up When You Can Do It Yourself?

This particular quotation has been around a while yet it seems to have enough about it to avoid falling into the cliché category.We’re adding to our resources that focus on assertiveness and have opened some ideas up about the relationship between assertiveness and confidence. I guess it is well worth stating here my observation that misplaced over-confidence is frequently accompanied by behaviours the outcomes of which are limiting and carry a degree of risk. However, the direction of this piece of work is to look at the traps we prepare for ourselves when our lack/absence of confidence expresses itself in Self Sabotaging Beliefs. Let’s take a look at the “Stand Out Seven” what they might mean and their potential limiting impacts

  1. When I think about how I'm doing, I tend to focus on what is not working rather than what is
You know, let’s focus on the times we've dropped the pass or missed the deadline. Let’s haunt ourselves with the presentation that didn't go as well as it might have and dismiss all the good ones as “adequate at best”. It’s a sure-fire way of blocking your own productivity, whether at work or on personal projects.
  1. I am apprehensive about the future
In all honesty you might be right to be apprehensive and as long as we’re in a place where we are exercising caution and consideration that’s okay. I see caution and consideration as a way to identify risk so that we “risk aware” and not “risk averse”. We do however need to keep this in a pragmatic and helpful space!
  1. I tend to devalue myself and my achievements
This isn't about becoming a hysterical self-promoting narcissist, it’s about accepting your achievements, owning them and using them in a manner that establishes your authenticity and credibility with others and most importantly-you!
  1. I find that I too often compare myself to others
Here’s an idea for you: keep on doing this and you will begin to understand that either you are much more capable than others and  they fall beneath your contempt or they are much more capable than you and you open the door to all sorts of self destructive ideas. Then again, you could chose to accept that each end of the continuum presents us with an opportunity to either help someone else or learn from someone else-either is good!
  1. I find it hard to hold on to my gains and achievements
“As soon as I reach my goal, it’s gone!” Sound familiar? Look, you've got there, you've secured it and as long as you've done this by an ethical and legal route it’s yours. So hold on to it, be proud of it and help others to reach their aspirations.
  1. I shy away from relationships
I have a good friend who does just this and this person’s self talk is sometimes painful to hear: “Not good looking enough,” “Who’d want to be with me?” “I'm a loner and I'm happy with it”, “There’s no-one out there for people like me.” And every time I hear this I witness a perfectly decent human being deny themselves and others of love, warmth and relationships. I hear them regurgitate the very negativity that has imprisoned them and in so doing honour only their gaoler.
  1. Sometimes I feel there is no real purpose.
There are days when this seems to be the case, we all hit the rocks occasionally. But we don’t need to “stay stuck” and when this becomes a dominant belief there’s a concern. It’s a concern because if we really, really see the world this way I can promise you that the outcomes of belief number 7 will exceed the total negativity produced by adding beliefs 1+2+3+4+5+6

Next time we'll give you a chance to assess your own thoughts and feelings and look at some countering behaviours.

If you'd like to talk to us about any of the ideas raised here you can contact us on.

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Thursday 18 September 2014

Stay On The Assertiveness Ladder

Staying On The Assertiveness Ladder

Confidence is a key component of assertiveness and vice-versa. For some, confidence is also hard to acquire and easy to lose. So, it's useful to begin to understand some of the elements that can increase your confidence: what is it you'd like to be confident about?

When we've worked with clients whose personal and or professional confidence is in a bad place, part of the challenge is to help people to understand that they have some "rights." Now, whereas the list below spells some of them out, we're not always going to feel good about asking for them to be met. Nonetheless, here we go:
  • I have the right to say no
  • I have the right to ask questions
  • I have the right to express my opinions
  • I have the right to make my own mistakes
  • I have the right to put my own need in front of others
  • I have the right to ask for help and support when I need it
And it's fair to state that some of our work is an outcome of individuals feeling that they are not recognised, that they have in some ways "ceased to exist" and that their rights are denied

We believe that we can be more confident and assertive if we have a go at contextualising what it is we actually want to experience happening to us. Doing this gives us access to a much clearer and clean conversation with those who we feel are denying us.
It's also important to remember that this is an "Upwards/Downwards/Sideways" process that can be used with colleagues across the organisation. Upwards intimidation happens too!

Here Are Some Questions for You:
If you are not being heard, you are going to suppress some really important ideas and feelings; if this happens:
  • What impact does it have on you?
  • What impact does it have on your team?
  • What impact does it have on the quality of your work?
  • What impact does it have on your happiness and well-being?
  • What impact does it have on your family and friends?
It's really helpful if we set this out in a format that helps to be clear about what we want for example:

My rights
  • I have the right to:-"Challenge Ray when he sets short deadlines"
  • I have the right to:-"Turn off my work mobile at leave it off until 7.30 a.m
  • I have the right to:-"Be given time to develop my ideas and be heard"
So here are 3 prompts to get you thinking:-
  • What would you out on your "Rights List"?
  • What would you prioritise?
  • If things changed for the better, what would you notice?
Good luck! And if you'd like to know more you can contact us at You can find out more about our work on our web-site

Monday 15 September 2014

How Many Do You Get? McGraw's Laws.

McGraw’s Laws
Background: Phil McGraw is a Psychologist + Celebrity Coach. He identifies 10 “laws of life” claiming that if you practice all 10 your success is guaranteed. Fail to practice just one and you can be “left in the dust”
1. Either you get it or you don’t
Insight doesn’t slowly evolve, it leaps
We can change now. So can our coachees and our customers. If you believe these things take lots of time it will.
2. You create your own experience
What is happening to you now tends to be a result of something you have done or are doing
While we blame others we will never self-diagnose. Keep looking for your role in producing the results you are getting. You are not a victim, you have choice
3. People do what works
People repeat behaviours that reward them in some way
To change any behaviour you must first identify the “payoff” then stop the payoff.
You cannot change your own negative behaviour without understanding why you do it in the first place
4. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge
Solving a problem depends on acknowledging it in the first place.
What you do not acknowledge is going to get worse until you do
Don’t spend time on problems that people do not admit to.
5. Life rewards action
No one cares about your intentions only what you do.
Until someone commits to an action nothing will change
6. There is no reality only perception
“People knowledge” is based on opinion and so cannot be objective
Accept others opinion of you. If you don’t like it, ask yourself how you contributed to it and how you can change it.
7. Life is managed not cured
Don’t expect something or someone to sort your problems once and for all Challenge is a constant
How often do we hear “if only I had x everything would be OK”
Real change involves adopting new and permanent strategies.
8 We teach people how to treat us
If someone treats us a certain way it is because we are rewarding that behaviour by how we  respond to it
Identify the payoff we are giving that person and  then stop the payoff
We can re-teach people –after all, we taught them in the first place
9. There is power in forgiveness
If you hold a grudge against someone it hurts you not them
See it as a learning experience and learn to forgive
10. You have to name it to claim it
To achieve a goal you must first create one.
Do it properly.
Not knowing precisely what you want is not OK.
Learn to state specifically what you want and why you want it
Have a plan or you’ll be a part of someone else’s

....and which one rings most true for you? For me it's number 7, followed closely by number 9.....

Thursday 11 September 2014


"John, he's not assertive, just bloody rude!" Was the response to what I thought was a pretty neutral question to a manager about a team-member about who we had been approached with a view to helping him to "moderate his style".
Assertiveness. The subject of training programmes, coaching interventions and one-to-one conversations with a sad truth attached to it. The necessary amount is often context specific and power related.

So, what do we do about getting off the fence and understanding something about assertiveness and its relationship with how we feel about others and how we feel about ourselves, how do we exercise some control over our messages and for supervisors and managers who encourage their team-members to participate in assertiveness programmes? Do they in turn need to be careful what they wish for? 

Individuals who overplay their assertiveness are hard work and they need to understand that as with any "overplayed strength", it can end up hurting you. It's tough to face up to the fact that your "clarity and purpose and willingness to challenge," can be easily (and yes, sometimes deliberately and cynically) misinterpreted

And for the non-assertive? I sometimes ask "Who told you that it's not okay to express yourself and to ask to be treated with dignity: who said "You don't matter and neither does your opinion? Who told you that you should "Shut up and get on with it without ever expecting to be heard?"

There's a good chance that at either end of the spectrum, there's something damaging happening, either to the person concerned, their colleagues, their families. Our work in Coaching and Mediation is varied and interesting with each person's story generating fascinating, sometimes challenging and occasionally distressing insights as we strive to "meet our clients where they are." Part of our processes enable them to understand the power they can give themselves by trying strategies that allow them consider alternative ways of doing things, of managing their interactions. This sometimes requires a "Fake it till you make it." approach. We ask them to "notice what's changing" when so doing.

Interestingly, the word "Confidence" starts to appear! It's a challenge and we'll be developing this theme over the next few posts. In the meantime, feel free to contact us should you wish to talk about this or any of our other services shown on our website


Wednesday 10 September 2014

Some Thoughts About Moaning

Moaners suck the very life out of teams and work-based relationships; we have a choice about the way we view and talk about our working environment.

It works!