Savouring & Reminiscing

30 Jun

Skyros Holidays - Suzanne Hazelton - Boat tripI’ve just spent 2 weeks on the beautiful island of Skyros.  I was invited by Skyros Holidays to run a couple of week long workshops.  The first week I ran a workshop called Raise Your Game, based on the content of my first book (Raise Your Game).  The course attracted participants from far and wide – and although I’d expected participants of working age – there were a couple of retirerees, still curious – still lively with bright eyes – showing signs of life and curiosity of the world around.

The second week I ran a workshop on happiness.

One of the themes from both weeks was that of positive emotions.  The link is perhaps more obvious to the workshop on happiness – but there are also strong links to success.  It’s probably useful for me to say that I believe that “success” is personal – we each can and should define what success means to us.  It will be different for each of us.

Anyway, back to positive emotions …. (traditionally) successful people are often driven by goals – by the attainment of something in the future.   Sometimes they find that “something” is lacking in their life.  Research (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005) is beginning to show that success is linked to happiness.  Not that happiness is a result of happiness – but success follows our happiness.

Not surprisingly when people achieve – achievement triggers feelings of happiness.  But what happens after a day when things haven’t gone to plan …. Perhaps our happiness goes out of the window, and thus begins the beginning of a slow downward spiral.  Fortunately for most of us, the downward spiral is reversable, and often we intuitively do things to “cheer us up”.  However – it’s worth being aware of the importance of doing things to “cheer us up” – and perhaps having some new strategies to employ.

I’ve described TIME PERSPECTIVES before, and the importance to our well-being of having the balance between past (positive), present and future.  And as mentioned above – many “successful” people know what they want and deliberately set out to achieve these things – and thus have a future focus.

One of the tools therefore is to cultivate our awareness and enjoyment of the present moment, and to take some time to positively reminisce about the past.

Oh yes, it’s easy to do whilst on a beautiful Greek island.  Good food, great company, turquoise blue seas and sandy beaches.  Shared experiences become the source of laughter, giggles and smiles.  We have time to sit and share a coffee, to build new memories and to savour our past experiences.  We can meander through the streets and enjoy the moment.

The question is – how well can you integrate “savouring & reminiscing” into “normal life”?

References & Acknowledgements:

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803-855. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803

Photograph, courtesy of Kel Portman

Sun, sea and increasing your personal effectiveness

24 Mar

Whether or not you’ve started to think about your summer holiday, I’d like to let you know about a workshop that I’m running on the Greek island of Skyros.

Skyros Holidays Skyroshave been running what they call “alternative” holidays for several decades – and are celebrating their 30th year this year.

If you believe in the mind / body /soul connection  – then no doubt you’ve come across this type of holiday before.  Skyros holidays are a fantastic combination of relaxing in great surroundings (a Greek Island, with other like-minded individuals), with morning yoga practice for the body, and coaching to develop the mind.

I’m delighted to be running 2 coaching programmes there during the 2 weeks, 14th – 27th June.  I have a couple of discount vouchers. Please email me if you would like more information or a discount voucher.

Workplace Relationships

26 Feb

Relationships at work, should be engaging and uplifting, but sadly are often destructive.

Whilst you may not be able to change the people that you work with, there are things that you can do to stay clear of more destructive relationship patterns.  You can also build more positive relationships, one interaction at a time.

These slidea are from a session I gave on Friday 21st February 2014 with Nic Malcomson as part of a day long workshop entitled ‘The Rub’ by The Psychology of Self Expression.

Unstuck

9 Jan

Unstuck

From stuck to unstuckWe’ve all been ‘stuck’ at some point, not knowing what to do next.  There is time for quiet reflection, and there is time for action.  Doing something, sometimes anything differently.  The question is, how do we get unstuck?  How do we start to make progress in a particular direction, rather than being, er, stuck.

We might ask someone for advice … and have you ever noticed that the other person rarely has the same information that you do – and often you end up saying “yes, but it’s not quite that straightforward because …..” and then go onto elaborate the details of the current stuck state.  Essentially you ignore their advice because they don’t really understand your particular situation.

So often the only person who can move you out of your stuck place is you.  And getting unstuck can sometimes take a little creativity on your part.   Often some of the limitations that we perceive are outside of our awareness, and are often only limitations in our mind.  But when you’re in the stuck place it’s hard to see that we’re limiting ourself.  So how do we break from this place of “stuckness”?

I’ll give you one method, and the first thing to remember is that it’s not a solution in itself, the idea is to generate options.  Just the act of generating options starts to give us some choice in the situation.  I often run this process with my clients – but you could take the role of the coach and ask yourself the “coach” questions.

Client:  “I don’t know what to do”

Coach: “What could you do?”

Client: “I don’t know”

Coach: “What would [respected person 1] do”

[respected person could be someone in business, Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, Anita Ruddick someone respected in sport, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Clive Woodward, Jennifer Ennis … or a movie hero, Superman, Wonderwoman, …. your boss, respected colleague ]

You can repeat this question for different [respected persons].  The idea is JUST TO GENERATE IDEAS.  DON’T EVALUATE THE DOABILITY.

Coach:  “What the worst thing that you could do in this situation?”

This just gives information, again to start to break the ties of being stuck.  If the realisation is that the worst thing is “do nothing” … then all of a sudden “doing something” seems like a good option.

Once you have come up with some fantastical ideas you can start to look at what you can do with the resources (time, money, people) that you have.   So whilst for example you might think that Richard Branson would solve the problem with £1m in marketing … you have some information that you think investing in marketing would be a wise thing to do.  Perhaps you don’t believe that your business has the cash to invest … so you can ask yourself to come up with some creative ideas to get round this problem.   But NOTICE – You now know what to do!

Knowing what to do is a great first step.  You can explore how you can get it done and think about who can help you do that.

 

References

Image from: http://caseydecker.deviantart.com/art/Whitnee-Stuck-In-Glue-196149936

 

Informal and supportive Christmas

21 Dec

In a previous blog I mentioned that for many years I’ve hosted friends for Christmas, I described that I’m now curious about finding out the different Christmas traditions of friends and family, and how I sought to honor some of those traditions by asking people to complete the phrase “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without …“. Although I’ve hosted Christmas, its not because I’m the best cook (I’m not), or the best hostess, but for pragmatic reasons of having a slightly larger home where everyone can sleep over.  Many of my friends live in London, and I’ve had a cottage in a village somewhere which was slightly larger and could accommodate more people.  

The thought of “doing everything” and running myself ragged whilst my friends lounged around never really appealed to me.  I don’t think it was really their expectation either.  The agreement has been that we all chip in and bring food and do the cooking.  

However after a moving home I wanted to “renew” the ownership they felt, and explicitly expand it to be more than food ….One year wanted to come up with a way for everyone to feel engaged and part of creating our Christmas.  

I wrapped up household items, and gave them out on arrival – to signify “ownership”.  Of course is wasn’t ridged, but symbolic.  For example, I wrapped the corkscrew … you’re in charge of charging our glasses.  The stereo remote control was wrapped you’re the DJ – ah, the days before iPad shuffle!

Firelighters

I wrapped firelighters for the pyromaniac of the group, who really needed no encouragement to get the fire burning in the grate.  Actually, to be fair the symbolic owner of the corkscrew probably needed no encouragement either – but I guess it was a great ‘permission’ for them to take ownership rather than to be looking to me to check it’s ok to open a bottle, light the fire or change the music.

Whilst symbolic gifts are a slightly unusual side to Christmas – it is a way to ensure that everyone chips in – everyone was involved in creating our Christmas – and guess what – we all had fun.

If you’d like a bit more assistance at Christmas, consider some of the tasks that people could help you with and perhaps find fun (and public) ways of “assigning” them.  Certainly this worked for us.   Let me know your thoughts or variations that work for you.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without …

20 Dec

For many years I’ve hosted a Christmas gathering for friends.  One of the things I’ve really enjoyed, and I’ve found fascinating is finding out the different traditions that my friends have for Christmas.  Sometimes these are things that they’re not fully aware of, simply because they’ve always done them that way … and yet if these traditions weren’t there, the day would somehow be “not quite right”.  It’s not always easy to find out what these things are, perhaps at some level we expect everyone else adheres to these traditions too.  

For my mum it’s cracking nuts and putting them to soak in Cherry Brandy, for a little treat a few days later.  As a kid, I hadn’t realised this was a ‘family thing’ – I assumed this is what everyone did with their nuts!  Nuts in cherry brandy is about the full extent of my mum’s alcohol habit, so as a teenager when I first met friends who had a Buck’s Fizz on Christmas morning – well that was a bit of a shock to my system – but a tradition that I’ve now fully embraced!

Nuts in Cherry Brandy

One friend HAS to have Yorkshire pudding with her Christmas lunch.

I was talking with a friend earlier this week about her family traditions.  She described how her family always cracked the nuts for a nut roast together on Christmas Day morning.  However this year, with 3 grandchildren she thought that she would do the nut roast in advance – much to the horror of her daughter.  For her daughter Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without sitting as a family cracking the nuts for the nut roast.

Are you aware that you’ve got any “family specific” or quirky Christmas traditions?  What are they – I’d love to hear about them?  This is not about turkey or crackers – I think they’re cultural norms.  

For you, or perhaps your guests, complete the phrase …..”Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without ….”

Great Days at Work – Workshop

7 Nov

Great Days at Work

Workshop

Take control of you live and experience great days at workWhether work’s just “OK” or if you’re downright fed up with your job, then I’m running a workshop which could change the way you work and your perceptions of work.  It’s based on my book – Great Days at Work.

In October, Psychologies magazine ran a feature on having Great Days at Work – and included an article based on me coaching their features editor – Ali Roff.

I speak to lots of people who aren’t enjoying their job, who don’t find their work satisfying or have colleagues who frustrate them.  My passion is enabling people to thrive (and not just survive).

I’ve developed a framework that I use.  In my time I’ve coached and trained thousands of people, and I’m qualified and have trained in a range of tools, from Positive Psychology, NLP, Psychotherapy and a number of psychometric profiling tools.  I noticed that there seems to be a typical sequence that people go through in their journey of change – and coaching is about our personal growth and development enabling us to become all that we’re capable of becoming.

This 1 day workshop is based on the framework used in my book, Great Days At Work – it’s the approach I use in my 10 session coaching programme.  The framework is described in the first chapter of Great Days At Work (if you would like a copy of the first chapter – please email office @ thebusinessofchange . co . uk)  Of course it’s just a framework, and people are different – but generally we have to know that we’re capable of change, what change means – and how change happens (it’s not an instant switch), and how we can take more personal responsibility for our actions – which can sometimes feel tough.  It’s then important to start to discover your vision … where do you want to be in 1, 5, 10 year’s time … what sort of life do you want to have?  There are then a set of what I call “power tools” that you can use to make work / life better.  Relationships are important, both at work and of course outside – but at work we don’t often get to choose our colleagues – so how can you develop your work relationships, and make them fulfilling rather than antagonistic. I just saw a quote recently from Tom Peters which I think sums it up nicely:

In the end, ‘it’ is ALL about relationships. NEVER heedlessly antagonize. E.g., make one last pass on EVERY email to sand off any raw bits.” ~ Tom Peters

I normally work with teams within organisations, but I’ve had some requests to offer this to interested individuals.  This workshop has been designed to enable you to have great days at work.  It’s relevant if you’re an employee, or if in a work capacity you lead others, whether a business owner, team leader or manager.

Plus you’ll learn easy and effective tools and techniques from the science of positive psychology to enable your work days to be great.  These tools can be put into use straight away for immediate and lasting results – and you already know that when you have a great day at work, it positively impacts other aspects of you life.  So …. are you ready for a great life?!

Click the link to book your ticket:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/5012416272

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