How to be present when others are losing it

Do you struggle to know how to be present with someone when they are upset or angry, or when you are tired or going through it yourself? I’m very often struck by how people can lack the ability to “be with” people emotionally, especially those who work professionally with people in challenging situations. It’s like our buttons get pushed or we feel inadequate or lack the resources we need. Somehow, people say, they “aren’t qualified” to handle it. When people kick off I remember once on a Gestalt training course unpacking a whole load of grief around the impact of … Read more

Do you relate well to others?

Do you relate well to others personally and at work? Do you inspire, lead and motivate them well, or do you struggle in the “people” aspect of your job? It’s common for people to minimise this part but it’s crucial to things going well. Business leaders have finally woken up to the fact that “soft skills” make a big difference to the bottom line, after years in which people have denied its importance and minimised the value of such training and coaching. Many in the Learning and Development industry will of course be thinking “told you so”, but it must … Read more

Do you not relate well to others?

Do you find that in some area of your life you lack the ability to relate well to others? You’d not be alone, since our ability or inability to connect with others is something that is the cause of much heartache and conflict in our society and in organisations. For some it is about avoiding making effective connections and for others it is where they overdo it and cause harm. Some people are for example reserved or non-assertive while others can be aggressive. A key underlying issue can be due to a lack of emotional intelligence, our self-awareness, how we … Read more

Lack of empathy and social awareness can be very damaging

Earlier this week I posted on the levels of social awareness and concern for  others and the lack of empathy. I argued that it is possible to develop this Emotional Intelligence (EI) attribute in people. Yesterday I was sent a link to an HBR article which supports this view, with research evidence. As the writer argues, you can improve your EI, with the right coaching supported by feedback from others. This is as relevant at work as in life in general. We might think we are a particular person with a particular style but we may be very unaware of … Read more

Your invitation to the party

It’s a vital distinguishing feature of people today, those that have self awareness. It’s that ability to take a step back and be aware of oneself in action. With skill and practice, we become far more able to be aware of when our less useful characteristics, those of the ego, are in play: for example if we check ourselves out and put a pause perhaps on that old “knee-jerk” response. It’s not surprising that Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence”, describes it is the key emotional intelligence ability. It also enables us to be more connected, to be more aware … Read more

Being open to different interpretations of events gives us freedom

People can make up different interpretations of events and create conflict When something happens that triggers a negative reaction in us, it can be all to easy to jump to conclusions about what’s going on that doesn’t necessarily fit with the facts or how others see it. This tendency to be blind to different interpretation of events is a notorious source of conflict at all levels. Let’s take a simple example. We were walking along a town centre street when we saw a piece of paper thrown in amongst the flowers in a flower tub placed there to pretty up … Read more

Being who you are means knowing who you are not

“Just be who you are” can seem easy to say, except that it poses all sorts of questions. For one, it first presupposes you know who “you are” is and secondly that you feel able to “do it”! Yet authenticity, being who you are, is what our contemporary culture is demanding. Just watch reality TV programmes. We also today have a big rise in what is referred to as narcissism, the false self. Narcissus was a beautiful mythical Greek who fell in love with his reflection in a pool and wilted away and died of the impossible love. Narcissism can … Read more

Manage your mind to still your busy mind and be at peace

It’s a common complaint that I hear from people, that their minds are too busy, they can’t get it to be still, they are constantly plagued by negative or unhelpful thoughts, or simple are unable to switch off. It’s no surprise in today’s very stressful life but it’s not something limited to stress situations. Your mind can take you to hell and back if you’re not careful. This is where having the skill to manage your mind is so important. The mind is a maleable instrument and we can deal with these tendencies if we choose. In yoga and other … Read more

Is success eluding you?

How many of you have aspirational outcomes you currently aren’t accomplishing? Is there some goal that hasn’t worked out, or seems not to be happening, or not as you hoped or expected? One big reason that people come into this field is that they are feeling unsuccessful in some way, like life has not worked out as they wanted it to or expected it to. And they are therefore hoping to get some serious change through this work. This can particularly happen for people around certain crucial “change points” in their lives, when the current paradigm is threatened, if not … Read more

Being in touch with our personal assets and strengths to promote ourselves

It’s frustratingly easy in difficult times to start to undervalue ourselves. It’s going on all over the place at the moment, at all levels. When the value of things shrink, so it seems does our self-esteem! There’s almost a perverse relationship between the two. As many a job hunter will know, this doesn’t help their job search. It is also relevant to those in work, whether it is in seeking to influence others, make a presentation, advocating new ideas, or wherever we need to put ourselves in a positive light, as well as in motivating ourselves. It’s a lot harder … Read more