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Watch your words

The words we tell ourselves have the power to influence how we feel.

I was reminded of this last week when, in a morning of frustration, I caught myself muttering over and over, “I hate remote learning.”

You see, I have three primary school-aged boys at home at the moment and although my husband is here to help (thank goodness!), some days the working from home/learning from home juggle is brutal.

While I stomped around in frustration, repeating my mantra of hate, I noticed what was happening to my mind and body. I was getting more and more worked up and my mood was growing darker and darker. I was snappy and my tolerance was non-existent.

As I turned the pages of my flipchart aggressively in preparation for a virtual workshop (ironically on self-management at times of stress), the words I’d written beside Stephen Covey’s ‘Circles of Influence’ model jumped out at me: “Where your attention goes, your energy flows.”

Bam! That stopped me in my tracks.

Our words have power and mine were focussed on the wrong thing.

In the current climate, it’s easy to focus our words backwards on what we can’t control and say things like, “I miss…”, “I wish…”, “I hate…”.

And while saying and feeling these things is perfectly normal, it’s important to be aware of the impact this inner dialogue can have on our wellbeing.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my words helping or hindering my resilience and mindset?
  • Are my words making me feel better or worse about where I’m at?

The good news is small changes to our words can have a big impact.

Instead of “I miss…” and focussing on all the things we can’t do at the moment, try reframing your language to focus forwards by saying things like, “I’m so looking forward to…” or “I can’t wait for…”.

Instead of “I hate”, try gratitude by reframing to “I really appreciate…”.

That’s what I consciously did that morning. I took a big deep breath and shifted my mantra from “I hate remote learning” to “I LOVE teachers”, “I so appreciate schools”, and “bring on term four”.

It helped me and I hope it also helps you.

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Leah Mether helps people get out of their own way with the development of soft skills (which are really hard). She is a speaker, trainer, facilitator, mentor and author of the book Soft is the New Hard: How to Communicate Effectively Under Pressure.

𝐖HAT BALLS CAN YOU PUT DOWN?

For yourself, your team, your organisation, your family?

Not drop but consciously and deliberately put down.

This is a question for everyone but particularly leaders.

I have had conversations with people from a wide range of organisations over the last couple of weeks as the situation in Victoria has grown direr.

The feedback has been consistent: Many people are not ok. They are overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed and anxious – more so this time around than back in March.

read more…

Ten tips for communicating with a mask on

Of all the things I thought I’d be writing about at the start of 2020, how to communicate while wearing a face mask was not on my list.

But here we are, and the good news is, I’ve got some tips to help.

As many of you have probably discovered, wearing a face mask takes getting used to and although vital at this time, does create challenges for communication.

But while wearing a mask does impact how we communicate, it doesn’t mean we can’t communicate effectively. We can!

We just have to work a bit harder and get more conscious, deliberate and exaggerated in what we do.

(My big expressive hand gestures and crinkle eyed smiles were totally made for this!)

Here are 10 tips to help you communicate with a mask on:

read more…

Courage, not confidence is the key to success

“If only I had more confidence…”

“When I’m confident, I’ll…”

“I don’t have the confidence to have that conversation (so I won’t have it).”

I hear versions of these statements frequently.

It seems many people believe developing confidence is the answer to their problems.

I disagree.

read more…

There is no such thing as common sense.

It’s a phrase that’s been uttered by politicians and medical experts repeatedly over the last nine weeks in relation to community behaviour and our response to COVID-19.

“Use common sense”, they tell us.

“It’s basic common sense”, they say.

Every time I hear it, I cringe.

Why?

Because common sense is not common.

read more…

Don’t assume that all requests of you are urgent.

Too often we assume a request from a colleague, or task allocated by our boss must be actioned immediately, without question.

We drop whatever we were working on and get started on the new request straight away.

This reactive, rather than responsive approach is a sure-fire path to stress and overwhelm.

Our to-do list grows, our distraction levels are high, and our days are filled with ‘busy work’.

read more…

The Stockdale Paradox: Why both optimism and realism are essential for success

The Stockdale Paradox: It’s the ability to balance optimism with realism to get through tough times when the future is uncertain.

It’s a concept that is very relevant now and builds on the work of Viktor Frankl, the World War II Holocaust survivor who spoke of the power of choosing your response to life’s challenges.

James Stockdale was the highest-ranking US military officer held captive in the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ POW camp during the Vietnam War.

He was imprisoned for almost eight years and repeatedly tortured.

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Two key questions to help you self-manage under stress

Who are you?

Who do you want to be?

Two big questions and your answers will help you navigate through this time of stress and uncertainty.

Who are you? How are you travelling right now? What are your values? Are you living in alignment with them under pressure?

Be as honest as you can be with your answers – not so you can beat yourself up, but so you can own where you’re at. It’s about self-awareness. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

read more…

Lead with warmth

One of the best communication and leadership tips I can give you to help navigate this crazy time is this: Lead with warmth.

One of the best communication and leadership tips I can give you to help navigate this crazy time is this: Lead with warmth.

By warmth, I mean kindness, compassion and empathy.

Why?

Because warmth conveys our underlying intention.

It shows the people receiving our communication that we care about them and have their interests at heart – even if the message we’re delivering is difficult to hear.

read more…
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Soft is the new hard

How to Communicate Effectively Under Pressure

leah@leahmether.com.au | 0409 938 277