And why do I do that? Nature v nurture – how much are we born with our personality and to what extent are we influenced by our upbringing?

Journalists back in May 2014 wrote the following:
“Angelina Jolie believes a child’s personality is already defined at birth-remaining unaltered by the circumstances of their upbringing-and says she has more in common with her adopted son Maddox than with her own genetic children.
The actress and mother of six said motherhood had taught her that children are “…who they are when they are born… “and in the absence of a serious trauma will grow up to be their own person.
Three of Jolie’s children are adopted and she said she was surprised she had more in common with adopted son Maddox than with her own genetic children.
“You think you’d be more similar to the children that you have a genetic link with, but I’m not. Maybe one of them, but then I’m very similar to Maddox.”

Angelina Jolie often plays ‘1’ – type characters in films: her strength is very ‘1’- like, engendering respect through purpose and principle, without fuss or frills.

This observation by Angelina is completely understandable in the context of the Enneagram personality types. The premise of the Enneagram is that we are born with a particular type, it is not genetically predisposed, it stays our core driver throughout our lives. Understanding the personality types described has been absolutely transformational for families who have always known that there were stronger connections and easier interactions between some family members and not others.

Whilst this may previously have brought a great deal of heartache and pain, the Enneagram dissolves all of this in the understanding that the differences are not personal, but personality. Giving children access to this information releases their feeling of being less loved if they are simply operating from a different personality type to others within the family.

Those who are striving to improve the quality of their lives, their work, their relationships, have a deep need to first understand themselves. The Enneagram helps people to understand their own motivations and learn to work to their own strengths, encouraging the same in others.

This fascinating subject we currently deliver through a 2-day workshop programme, receiving fantastic feedback about it power and profound impact.
Our fresh, modern illustrated book called Personality Portraits – The Enneagram Encountered, published through Enneagram Insights Publishing, is now available to purchase. For further details please contact Rachel.

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RMT – rhythmic movement training…what is it?

Rhythmic Movement Training is a drug free approach to help physical, emotional, behavioural and cognitive challenges. It is a specialised movement programme for children and adults to develop their visual, auditory, motor, tactile and balance senses. The RMT movements replicate the natural rhythmic type movements that infants make which are necessary to integrate the primitive reflexes.

The Infant Reflexes are responsible for developing and maturing the ‘wiring’ system in the brain that should take place starting in utero and up to 4 years, ready for going into the learning environment to learn with enjoyment, adventure and with ease.

This programme is movement based and natural. It can bring about profound and life-long results.

Who can benefit?

RMT is valuable to anyone who would like to improve any skill or area of their life. It can help those who are struggling, not performing or achieving their highest potential in education, business, sport or the performing arts. It is extremely beneficial to anyone with specific learning difficulties whether they be physical, emotional, social and behavioural or has been assessed with any developmental delays.

How do I know whether RMT can help?

Simple physical checks can be done to assess any retained reflexes. If the person cannot do the co-ordinated rhythmic movements easily by themselves, this clearly shows the different areas of the brain may not be linked up sufficiently. Some people do finds ways of compensating for their difficulties in life but it will require them to put a lot more effort into achieving the success they want and deserve.

see http://www.completeharmony.co.uk for more information

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Beliefs….the importance of creating powerful empowering beliefs

The power of feedback and creation of negative beliefs

 

Buddhist abbot Ajahn Brahm gave the example of a monastery wall he built in Australia. The wall had two “bad” bricks sticking out at an angle. He was embarrassed about the appearance of the wall until a visitor pointed out that only two bricks were deficient out of 1,000.

The morale of this story:

Whenever we give feedback it is always important to put deficiencies into context. Talk about the 998 good bricks, as well as the two bad ones, otherwise they may feel you are attacking their entire wall.

When feedback is levied at a person’s identity rather than behaviour, this can create or reinforce limiting beliefs. Henry Ford, once said ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right!’ He was making reference to the fact that what’s going on in our heads has an effect on the way we behave.

A belief is a thought in your mind that causes the power of your subconscious mind to effect your thinking habits. During childhood adults – usually parents and teachers – give us information and because we have no frame of reference or experience against which we can validate this information, we tend to believe it as being true. If they are negative, we can carry this negativity into our adult life and allow it to affect the way we think and limit what we believe we can achieve. A large number of our thoughts are negative and as many are repeated, this only serves to reinforce the negativity.

These are known as limiting beliefs, which can be changed relatively easily and once changed can have major benefits to our mental health. Limiting beliefs arise from filtering information as there is so much information reaching our brain. For much of what we do we operate on autopilot like getting out of bed. Whilst these traits are often required for efficient working, they can create powerful limiting beliefs that are not useful or appropriate. We delegate, generalize and distort massive amounts of information. These internal processes function automatically in the subconscious. In road accidents, investigators find that, were witnesses are highly stressed, they produce wildly different accounts of the same event. If you hold a negative belief what can you do? The first step is to recognize it, because only then can you begin to change. Often people fear failure or success, fear of the unknown, I don’t deserve it, I’m not good enough, It’s going to take a long time.

Beliefs are like software, it’s no good if the computer’s great, if you’re running on the wrong software, you won’t get the right results. The right beliefs lead to the right action. You are what you think.

“I praise loudly. I blame softly.” Catherine the Great

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Focus and direction…where is your journey headed?

In my experience of working with people, a key skill many people struggle with, is time management.

This struggle can create a feeling of overwhelm, which means they are likely to be working extremely hard whilst feeling exhausted. Many people are invariable on the back foot, reacting to what life throws at them, rather than being proactive and taking control.

This reactive approach to life creates stress and an out of control feeling and therefore life can feeling unfulfilling. A proactive approach to life takes discipline and practice. This proactive approach to life and work is build on the need to set goals, forward focus and strategy.

If we don’t have this proactive approach, it can feel like a depressing muddle, running around, working extremely hard, but achieving little – life can feel like a treadmill.

If we aren’t sure where we are headed, we can run around in circles, exhausting ourselves. Take the football team comprising of 5-year olds. How many of us have watched a group of 5 year olds playing football? When the ball is hit, the children are like bees around a honey pot. They forget to pass the ball. Whereas if they worked like a team and aimed for the net, they are more likely to score the goal.

We need to focus on what we want to achieve today, this week, this month, this year this lifetime, so we can direct our energies to the important things, our priorities. Only when we know our priorities, can we truly manage our time effectively, whether that be for work or our personal life.

I often see in a work environment, businesses who are half way through the financial year and still haven’t set clear goals and objectives for the business and their staff. How can people focus on the important things if they are not clear where they should be focusing their attention and energies? It is little wonder targets and objectives fall short of the mark.

Many people do manage to get the important things done in work, but it takes its toll on their personal life, they ‘miss out’ on the rest of life. Remember most people in their twilight years do not say ” I’m glad I spend that extra hour a day in the office!…” Most people don’t regret the things they’ve done, but the things they haven’t, the missed opportunities.

So have you set the journey, do you know where you are headed and do you have a route plan for success?

 

See http://www.completeharmony.co.uk for further details around personal coaching and development and http://www.thewellbeingprogramme.com for further details about business coaching and development, management training and staff wellbeing.

 

 

 

 

 

So we need to have our life goals to set the destination, set the SAT NAV, so we can plan our own journey of life…ensuring we enjoy the journey each step of the way. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, so it is about enjoying the steps along the way.

 

 

 

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Wellbeing…the cost of your organisational culture?

As you know I am passionate about the importance of a person’s wellbeing, how that in turn impacts on a person’s confidence, happiness, positivity, productivity, output and effectiveness.

I have been promoting its importance for more than a decade and have significant experience working with hundreds of clients, public sector organizations, private SMEs and large PLCs.

Interestingly this topic has raised its profile this month with the publication of the research report, Best Practice in promoting Employee Health and Wellbeing in the City of London and Oli Husemeyer, Google’s international benefits project manager, speech about how the organisation tackles wellbeing.

 

March 2014, sees the launch of the research report, Best Practice in promoting Employee Health and Wellbeing in the City of London.

The report, which focuses on best practice in promoting employee physical and mental health, prepared by the University of Salford and Cavill Associates, was introduced and debated by senior corporate and public sector figures including Alderman Fiona Woolf, Lord Mayor of the City of London; Professor Dame Carol Black, expert adviser to DoH; Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England; and health expert Sir Stephen O’Brien CBE.

Dame Carol Black told attendees that “productivity is at stake if companies ignore workplace health related issues. It is also essential for this programme to be integrated with the business strategy as it will never be successful as an add-on…”

Professor Stephen Bevan from the Work Foundation told attendees it was all about the work life balance. He said this was achieved through prioritising prevention and early managerial intervention. 

The Best Practice in promoting Employee Health and Wellbeing in the City of London states that ‘evidence suggests that a healthy workforce is more productive and has lower turnover. The need to prioritise employee health and wellbeing is a key consideration that benefits both individuals and businesses and the wider economy…Poor health in the workplace is estimated to cost the British economy over £100 billion annually through sickness absence and wordlessness ..An estimate for 2012 by the Confederation of British Industry is higher at 160 million working days lost. Clearly, the high cost of sickness absence means that employee health is an important issue for business and the UK economy, as well as at an individual level.”

“…Companies are increasingly interested in workplace health. There is a compelling body of evidence that successful companies tend to have healthy, productive workforces, and employers have a vested interest in reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity by improving the health of their employees. Employers increasingly recognise that investing in the health of their staff makes good business sense…A large number of organisations identified that the health and wellbeing agenda is crucial to their business, particularly in terms of retaining their competitive edge; employee retention; attracting ‘top talent’; and winning external tenders.”

 

Oli Husemeyer, Google’s international benefits project manager, has spoken about how the organisation tackles wellbeing.

Google’s approach is, as you would expect, incredibly ambitious — to have the healthiest and happiest workers on the planet. This ambition may not be attainable for most organisations, but for many, health and wellbeing is little more than a health and safety or risk management issue. I believe all organisations would benefit from raising their ambitions around health and wellbeing and having a proactive approach to wellbeing.

As JFK was reputed to have said  “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”

Google recognises that improvement in employee wellbeing can’t be achieved without investment and so puts serious money into wellbeing support.

Google doesn’t just focus on physical wellbeing, mental and emotional wellbeing are key areas of importance. These are areas that are still relatively overlooked by many organisations. This is despite the fact that stress is cited as a major cause of sickness absence by employers. When staff are absent from work due to stress, their absence periods are generally significantly longer than other types of absences.

Google’s approach recognises that stress is a result of poor emotional and mental wellbeing. Proactive organisations recognise that simply providing an employee assistance programme (EAP) helpline isn’t enough and need to further support employees.

Google has a proactive approach to wellbeing and building resilience. A particular problem with many wellbeing programmes is that they focus on remedies when the problem has already occurred . When it comes to health and wellbeing, actions taken before the event definitely do pay dividends later. The key is proactivity. Those organisations that look after their people, proactively, will always be at the front of the queue when it comes to attracting top talent.

Oli Husemeyer, said that helping employees build emotional resilience, supporting them during key life challenges, and making sure managers have the resources to support employees, are key to the organisation’s vision of making its staff the healthiest and happiest on the planet. “Building resilience helps employees to be able to cope with stress,” she explained… “Resilience is key to being able to bounce back. It is much better to deal with stress proactively before it has a negative effect.”  “Work-life balance issues are endemic to corporate life,” “Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own work-life balance.”

 

When working at Barclays one of my roles was that of Performance Managers. We were tasked with a Wellbeing Programme, to improve the performance and retention of staff. Many wellbeing initiatives were implemented within the contact centre including lifestyle coaching and personal development workshops for management and staff. 

The contact centre applied for several awards and amongst their success was European Call Centre of the Year in the Culture category. As part of that application, the Call Centre submitted a document- “the cost of our culture – how to save £1M per annum”, explaining how the investment in the staff actually saved the business money.

Here is our testimonial regarding the work we delivered within the contact centre:

“Embedding a positive culture within any business requires hard work and time. Rachel and Sarah have embraced the spectrum of initiatives on offer at Barclays to drive and generate a “Well Being” environment that underpins our people and ultimately drives our business success. Within the Contact Centre we have a diverse workforce but every individual is able to find a menu of support to enhance their personal development through coaching and training, whilst benefiting from a totally supportive environment that takes the stress and “hum-drum” out of working.

Rachel and Sarah are ambassadors for flexible working; they generate a work-life balance culture that has delivered people success and external recognition across a 650-strong workforce. The business benefits have been fantastic. Lower attrition and absence have underpinned high customer satisfaction, service levels and lead to a lower cost platform year on year. We continue to build on our well-being initiatives as a business and receive numerous enquiries about the business benefits that others seek to drive in the external marketplace”.                                                                                            Rob Hawthorn, Offshore Director, Barclays Bank PLC

 

 

Our Wellbeing Programme consists of bespoke consultancy, training and coaching to meet the specific needs of an organization. Please see my websites for more information, including:

 

  • Health and Wellbeing strategy and policy implementation
  • Stress management training for managers
  • Stress management workshops for staff
  • Resilience training for managers and staff
  • Personal development skills, including time management, assertiveness, positive mental health and relaxation training
  • Lifestyle coaching (see separate blog)

 

I welcome the opportunity to discuss how I can support you, your staff and organization through wellbeing initiatives.

Wishing you well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaining perspective about our lives…

Someone I worked with many years ago, gave me a copy of this poem and I often share it in my workshops about gaining balance and perspective…

Hope you enjoy reading it…

 

If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.
I wouldn’t be so perfect. I would relax more. I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been on this trip. In fact, I know very few things that I would take so seriously. I’d be crazier.
I’d take more chances, I’d take more trips, I’d climb more mountains, I’d swim more rivers, I’d go more places I’ve never been to.
I’d eat more ice-cream and fewer beans.
I’d have more actual problems and fewer imaginary ones!
You see I’m one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely hour after hour and day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of those moments, moment by moment.
I’ve been one of those people who never went anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it over again, I’d travel lighter next time.
If I had to do it all over again, I’d start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I’d ride more merry-go-rounds, I’d watch more sunrises if I had my life to live over again.
But you see, I don’t.
 
Written by an 85 year-old woman

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So what do we mean by resilience…

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to remain calm in the face of disaster, while others seem to fall apart?

People that are able to keep their cool have what psychologists call resilience, or an ability to cope with problems and setbacks.

Resilient people are able to utilize their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges, which may include job loss, financial problems, illness, natural disasters, medical emergencies, divorce or the death of a loved one.

Those who lack this resilience may instead become overwhelmed by such experiences. They may dwell on problems and use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with such challenges. Generally, these individuals are slower to recover from setbacks and may experience more psychological distress as a result.

Resilience does not eliminate stress or erase life’s difficulties. Instead, it gives people the strength to tackle problems head on, overcome adversity and move on with their lives.

More resilient people are able to adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor. 

We’re talking about the ability to be resilient with the changes that life throws at each and every one of us from time to time:

–      maybe a change in our financial circumstances

–      a bereavement

–      a car accident

–      an illness

–      or significant change at work – new boss, new office, promotion, increased or different workload, restructuring, redundancies, etc.

Highly resilient people are said to have a set of attributes that are not shown by less resilient individuals. And although some people are naturally more resilient than others, developing resilience is a skill that can be learnt and developed over time. 

So how resilient are you? How well do you handle adversity and life’s difficult situations?

 

If you want to know more contact Rachel at

rachel@completeharmony.co.uk

 

 

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The Stress Factor…creating calm from chaos…

Stress occurs when the perceived demands placed upon an individual exceed their perceived ability to cope. It’s different for everyone and a situation that may be seen as challenging to one person may cause stress to another.  

Stress can arise from an accumulation of events or situations over a period of time. Everyone responds to pressure differently. What is a challenge to one individual might be an immense pressure to another.

The point at which positive pressure turns to negative stress varies for each individual – which is why it’s sometimes difficult to recognise and manage.

Your own response to pressure will often be determined by your lifestyle, social and professional involvements, age, culture, gender, education and genetic factors. Your state of mind and physical health at the time will also have an influence on the level of pressure that you feel. 

 

Have you ever been in the situation when you have been trying to come up with a solution to a problem all week, and then bang, in the shower or out walking the dog, you suddenly come up with the solution? When you relax your subconscious mind has helped you create a solution.

Ideas spring up when you are thinking of other things. Even when YOU have stopped thinking about a problem, your subconscious mind is still dealing with it. And when you’re relaxed enough to listen, the inner voice, the subconscious will bring the solution in the shape of an idea.

Think about painters, artists, musicians and writers. When they need inspiration and creativity, they invariably take themselves off to a beach house, the studio or the mountains where they feel relaxed, which inspires them to be creative and productive. We don’t need to be a painter or musician to find our own inner creativity and inspiration, we often just need to learn to relax.

Statistics recently read out at a work life balance seminar stated:

  • In a single day last year, there was as much world trade as during the whole of 1949
  • In a single day last year, there was as much scientific research as during the whole of 1960
  • In a single day last year, there was as many telephone calls as during the whole of 1983
  • In a single day last year, there were as many e-mails as during the whole of 1990.

It’s really no wonder that people struggle to keep up with the sheer pace of change, coupled with the demands now placed upon them.

 

So what steps are you taking to manage stress and create cam in your chaos…

Thought of wellbeing workshops, seminars or lifestyle coaching?….

 

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So why do I do that?

Those who are striving to improve the quality of their lives, their work, their relationships, have a profound need to first understand themselves. The Enneagram helps people to understand their own motivations and learn to work to their own strengths, encouraging the same in others.  

The Enneagram (the name is from two Greek words – ‘ennea’, meaning 9 and ‘grammos’ meaning something written or drawn) offer profound insights into the ways personality can affect and direct us without our conscious awareness.  This personality descriptor describes 9 distinct personality type, simply numbered 1-9, each one driven, subconsciously, by the need to avoid a particular emotion. 

The Enneagram premise is that personality is inbuilt from conception and remains our type, but is massively influenced by our environment and our upbringing.

 

A fascinating subject, which we currently deliver through a 2 day workshop programme.

A fresh, modern illustrated book is currently being written on this wonderful topic.

Watch out for more blogs …

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Mental wellbeing and performance at work

Why is mental wellbeing important? First, we want to feel good – about ourselves and the world around us, to be able to get the most from our lives.

There is also evidence that good mental wellbeing is important for our physical health, and that it can help us achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

Mental Health can affect how we think and feel about ourselves , which can impact on our behaviour and how we cope in difficult times.

It affects our ability to make the most of the opportunities that come our way and play a full part amongst our family, workplace, community and friends. It’s also closely linked with our physical health.

Managing and supporting people’s mental health at work is a critical and growing challenge for employers. Positively managing mental health underpins these approaches and can reap rewards in terms of staff morale, productivity and loyalty.

Line managers play a vital role in the identification and management of stress and wellbeing within the organisation. They are likely to see the problems causing the stress first hand, will be in the best position to notice changes in staff behaviour that may indicate a problem and will often be the first point of contact when an individual feels unwell.

But managers also need to think about their behaviour, and how it can either add to the stress their staff experience or help alleviate the problem.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”                               World Health Organisation

When we are mentally healthy we are more likely to fulfill our potential, function well and cope with and enjoy work and family and social relationships, and to make healthy choices about our lives.

A supportive, inspiring line manager who works to understand the needs of employees can make an enormous difference to the individual whilst also helping to break down the stigma and discrimination barrier surrounding mental health issues. Relevant training could include:

  • Effective Performance Management and Appraisals
  • Coaching and Motivation Skills
  • Understanding & Tackling Stress
  • Building Resilience
  • Effective communication skills
  • Emotional Intelligence

An effective wellbeing strategy is essential in a proactive and forward thinking organisation. This may include various health and wellbeing initiatives which may also include lifestyle coaching (see separate blog). So how might wellbeing at work be impacting on performance levels in your organisation?

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