Thursday 27 August 2020

Every day patterns or the unexpected

The pod of dolphins was a joy to behold as they jumped out of the water and swam past this morning (image for illustration not those from this morning I'm afraid.)

I can't say that I spend all my time looking out of my office window, and certainly can't tell you how many ships go past in any day.
And yet today within seconds of each other my neighbour and I both noticed the pod as it traveled past and sent texts to each other so we didn't miss them.
That's what our attention can be like - we don't notice the every day things that happen frequently, and yet do notice the unexpected or out of the ordinary.
The challenge when coaching others, either as a coach or manager, is knowing when to pay attention to the every day patterns and when to focus on the unexpected.
After all, some unhelpful habits may lie in the every day patterns well out of our conscious awareness, and yet can get drowned out and ignored as we pay attention to the unexpected.
Other habits have yet to be developed which means when faced with the unexpected we start grasping for habits that work in other areas of our lives, and may not be so effective with the unexpected.
The key is self awareness ie being attentive to what is working and what isn't and then putting attention where it will have the greatest impact.
Where do you need to put your attention today

And if it's finding new habits to deal with the unexpected why not sign up for my webinar on 3rd Sept.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Feeling discombobulated?

If you're feeling discombobulated and lacking in focus and direction join me for the next 4 days as we explore how to see the wood for the trees over on Linked In.

The first question I'm asking you to think about is 

If you couldn't see the wood for the trees in a real wood what would you do?

I'd love to hear your thoughts - some suggestions to get you going might include finding a map or taking to higher ground.

What else comes to mind?

You may also want to measure where you are currently on the discombobulation and satisfaction scales out of 10 to get a sense of progress by the time we get to Friday.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Joy in the unexpected

As a manager, you will come up against the unexpected almost every day.

How do you feel, for example, when someone says "Can I have a quick word?".

Do you get a sense of dread or uncertainty that you may not be able to deal with what might come up? Or do you love the spontaneity of the situation and find joy in supporting someone in the moment?

My first 'Joy in the Unexpected' webinar is taking place on 10th July and, due to great feedback is being repeated, on 3rd Sept.

The live webinar is aimed at managers who would like to have some great tools in their toolkit to deal with unexpected situations; and to those people who have managers in their team who could benefit from getting confident with the unexpected.

By signing up below, you will be added to my Joy in the Unexpected mailing list. You will receive details soon about how to join in with the webinar; as well as occasional emails regarding future projects, more tools for your toolkit, and useful insights from me about navigating your way as a manager in these times.

In between these communications, you can keep up-to-date with what I'm up to over on LinkedIn.

I look forward to seeing you for the webinar. 

Register here

Sunday 17 May 2020

How to have a thriving and flourishing team in turbulent times

A small number of greenfly don't do much damage, it's once they take hold that sap is drained from the plants and they eventually succumb and then wither and die.

It's the same with negativity and blame - it may start off in small numbers but if not treated can take hold and drain all the creativity, enthusiasm and proaction out of organisations. What are you doing to spot treat occurrences of negativity and blame to stop it becoming how things are done around here? I started using gardening as a metaphor for our lives in the mid 90s and love revisiting it each year for Chelsea Flower Show. The show might have gone virtual but we can still learn much from this bountiful metaphor. If you'd like to dig a little deeper, turn over a new leaf or have a few seeds sown why not join us on Tuesday 19th May for a webinar looking at insight we can take when the beast from the east has just swept through our gardens and applying it to our working lives at the moment. I promise there will be plenty of opportunity for germination and digging over of ideas.

You'll also find more about the Landscaping Your Life process over in my LYL blog too. You can also sign up for my Landscaping Your Life ezine and newsletter here.

Friday 8 May 2020

Dearest Patience

Dearest Patience,

Thank you for digging deep.
For holding on,
And for being there for me when I need you.

Thank you for taking a breath before reacting to my continued requests for your support.
For not giving up as you cling in hope to a belief that you will get a break soon.
And for jumping in before frustration, anger and even impatience have a chance to take the lead.

I realise unprecedented, and challenging times are stretching you thinner than ever before.
You’re on call 24\7, juggling more than one ball,
And have many more attackers than ever before.

Remember though, I will only get to the other side because of you.

In exchange, I promise never to take your calming insight for granted again,
I will listen,
And we will continue to be this awesome team.

Know that the clap on Thursday is for you too.
It’s a clap of appreciation, of awe.
And a clap of love too.

Thank you my friend.

Wednesday 29 April 2020

The belief that's keeping me sane

Yesterday I was paralyzed by a belief, and today I have a belief that is keeping me sane. "Everyone is doing the best they can." I don't doubt we could all do better, more and do it faster but we're not. We Are All Yes ALL Doing The Best We Can A belief that stops me spending time focusing on things that are outside my control. I trust the supermarket is doing their best. I trust Westminster is doing its best. I trust the NHS are doing their best. I trust that PPE buyers across the planet are dong their best. If I get distracted with judgement, blame and anger about things I have no control my energy plummets, my best is limited and my well-being is compromised. If I spend time gossiping and agreeing with others on things about which I have no control it's time I can't get back. If I allow them to focus on doing their best I can get on with doing my best. A best that includes constructively helping others to move from today's best to tomorrow's best. No blame about today just learning and insight applied to an ever developing best. What belief will support your best today?

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Paralysed by a belief

As I wonder what to write I realise I’m paralysed by a belief - a belief that I’m doing the wrong thing.
“If I say that isn’t it a kick in the teeth for those who are really struggling?”
“Is that really a worthwhile subject to talk about at the moment?”
“Won’t that sound insensitive?”
Of course, it’s not just about writing - I can feel this belief creeping into other activities.
"Should we be doing that at this time?”
“Does it really matter in the scheme of things?”
“Why bother?”
I realise there’s at least two reasons to bother:
1. Everyone is in a different part of their journey through the lockdown - coping, not coping, excelling, loving it, hating it, floored by it, paralysed by it, &\or flying high. Changing daily or even hourly or stuck in one of these. Which means all advice is good advice - it just needs to find the audience needing to hear it - today. Dismissed by many but finding a home in those needing that insight.
2. By doing what I can - what I’m good at - gives me a purpose & it’s that purpose that will strengthen my resilience. A resilience of mind, body, & yes soul too, that is much needed to travel this weird & strange journey we’re on.
Where might you be paralysed by a belief, and how can you reassess its validity to release that mindset.

Friday 24 April 2020

Finding Motivation in Unprecedented Times

You may have noticed a change in your level of motivation at the moment – whether up or down.
You may also have noticed a change in the motivation of your family, friends, colleagues and stakeholders.
What worked only a few weeks ago is no longer working – and that’s not just about what motivates us.
The world has radically changed and every aspect of our personal and working lives continues to change daily.
As much as we’d like, we can’t go back to how things were, and instead we need to have awareness of where things are now and where they are headed.   
I think there’s a few things going on that will help explain our reactions, and those of our stakeholders.

Saturday 18 April 2020


My normal isn’t your normal - yours isn’t mine.
It isn’t today, never was, and will never be.
What was my normal has changed, will change again, and again over coming weeks and months. Yours too.
Someone’s normal may be increased energy and enthusiasm.
Another’s normal may struggle to get the basics and essentials done.
Today’s normal may be lots of free time, or no time at all.
Tomorrow’s normal may be creative and inspired or a mind stuck in Groundhog Day.
No right.
No wrong.
Just what is.
An emerging raveling and unraveling of old, not so old and new and yet to be discovered habits.
A tightrope of known and unknown, of certain and uncertain.
Each of us trying to make sense of the unprecedented, and getting a different answer.
And yet it’s an answer that gives us faith, hope and strength.
If I try to pull your rug from under your feet about the certainty of your answer I apologise, as I hope you will me.
My normal isn’t your normal - yours isn’t mine.
It isn’t today, never was, and will never be.

You'll find a little more about these words on this vlog

Saturday 28 March 2020

Index to support mental, physical and emotional well being

Over recent weeks, as I've delivered "soft skills and mindsets for unprecedented times" sessions, I have been heard to say "I've written a blog on that" - with over 500 posts in this blog alone you'd like to hope so. 

Here's a list of just some of those very posts that I think would be helpful as we face what were unimaginable situations only a few short weeks ago.

Just pick one that resonates, read a few or read them all over the next few weeks.

What ever works for you.

  • Unprecedented times - a reminder that words have power and the words we choose to describe the current situation have the power to push us away or towards well-being. 
  • The difference that will make the difference - what will help each of us at the moment to find balance will be as unique as we each are and it's about finding the difference that will make the difference - here's another post in the same vein but using the local jet skiers as an example of what not to do!
  • Motivation is an inside job - a reminder to not give our power away to a virus or other people.
  • Absurdity - sometimes the only way to shift our thinking is to get silly with it all.  
  • Do need to take your rose coloured spectacles off - self awareness will help point you in the direction where change is needed in order to find that balance of well-being.
  • What role are you playing - perhaps worthy of an update very soon as the roles we play in a pandemic will certainly support or hinder our personal flourishing and will be very different to the roles we were playing only a few weeks ago!
  • Juggling balls or spinning plates - when in overwhelm it's easy to forget to put the balls down or stop spinning those plates.   
  • Being on the same page as others - with such unimaginable things happening it's easy to get out of sync with others and also the facts and data. Whilst not written with the pandemic in mind I wonder whether this more metaphorical exploration might help get us all on the same page, or at least feeling like there's less of a mismatch? 
  • My advent series of posts using unconventional tools to provide different perspectives to a situation might provide a few interesting ideas from which to view the current situation and more importantly find a more resourceful mindset to cope with it from.  
and just been reminded of a couple of short stories I've written that might help too
  • The wave - my favourite short story I've written about a wave - you need to read it to understand why I love it - mindfulness meets landscaping your life 
  • The stone - another short story about the impact of being off kilter!
An index of posts using metaphor to help find that place of calm and balance can be found over on my over Landscaping you life blog.

You may also like my keeping afloat vlogs too :-) or join us on the let's get zagging facebook page were I share regular posts to help keep afloat.

Do let me know if something I've written resonates - and do please also share this index with others who you think might benefit.

If you'd like to be kept up to date with what I'm up to you can sign up for my newsletter here.

Thursday 26 March 2020

I've just not got the bandwidth at the moment

"I've just not got the bandwidth at the moment" It's not just the wifi, zoom (bless them) and other technology that's creaking at the edges through over use. I think we all are - our brains anyway. Unconscious habits that we've honed over years have been thrown up in the air. Even how we live as a family, how we shop, how we exercise, interact with others, measure 2 meters, and even wash our hands have been pushed back into our conscious awareness. A conscious awareness that, just like our wifi, only has so much bandwidth. Previously we could multi task because our unconscious was taking care of the background noise, allowing our conscious mind to focus on the new and exciting stuff. The back ground noise is now jamming the signal. Added to which we've got lots of new things to learn - who knew there was so much to learn about Zoom etc. So cut yourself some slack, and keep things simpler for a while. And trust that over time some of these 'it feels weird' new behaviours will become unconscious habits you no longer need to think about and will be going on in the background releasing up some well needed bandwidth.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

The fuzzy line between entitlement and trust

I shed my first tears about the current situation today &, whilst I'm sure they wont be the last, it had me thinking about the fuzzy line between entitlement & trust.

The tears came as I read Sainsbury's Chief Executive Mike Coupe email as he told what they were doing to safeguard access to provisions for the vulnerable at this time - which includes my mother & her partner.

Are we entitled to this service, or should we trust them to do their best?

Social media this week has been full of anger & frustration aimed at the supermarkets from a position of entitlement.

An entitlement based on what ever it is someone wants, what ever the time of day, & what ever the circumstances they expect to have their immediate & stockpiling needs met.

And yet, at times like these, entitlement seems such a waste.

A waste of time in which we all could be doing something more constructive.

A waste of energy our body needs to boost the immune system.

A waste of precious mental resilience.

In unprecedented & constantly changing times we have to trust that everyone is doing their best, using what ever their expertise to the fullest for the good of everyone.

We all rely on others - others rely on us - it's not an entitlement.

Be someone others can rely on, and trust that others will do the same.


Tuesday 17 March 2020

Unprecedented times

I speak often about the power of words, and recently had this lovely list of words people used to describe me visually brought to life by Sara Hoyles.

I hope you’ll agree they’re a gorgeous list and one I’m very proud of.

Today I want to write about the power of the words we're using to positively or negatively impact our mindset and ultimately our immune system.

Unprecedented times or strange, interesting, challenging or difficult times?

Words have power, and now more than ever some words are going to impact our mind and emotions more than others.

It’s not about burying our heads in the sand and ignoring what’s going on - and yes I can do that!

It is however about noticing the impact certain words are having on our mind and body.

Some words will increase our stress, the jitters, the floundering, panic and not knowing what to do - acting like a drain on our immune systems.

Other words will increase wellbeing, calm, confidence, and the inner knowing what to do - boosting our immune system.

What word triggers us will be unique as we are - some may find “challenging times” motivating and inspiring, and yet others may find them debilitating.

We can’t stop the media or others using these words but once we become aware of the words that trigger our negative thinking we can make a choice to choose more resourceful ones in our own thinking and speaking.

What words can you use less or more often to give your immune system some support?

Monday 16 March 2020

Drowning not waving

The life saving advert “he’s not waving he’s drowning” came to mind in this mornings personal training session in the sea.

I was reminded as I swam that our immune system can’t always tell the metaphorical difference between waving and drowning.

Which is why I believe our number one objective at this time is to support our immune systems and to not over load them with unnecessary and confusing signals.

We know what we need to stop or start doing to support mind, body, heart and soul. We’re just being invited to do it - now.

What will you today for mind, body, heart and soul? and when will you do it?

I'll only be sharing occasionally here. I'm posting on LinkedIn , Facebook and YouTube daily so pop over there to have a daily dose of insight to help keep you afloat. 


Saturday 14 March 2020

Keeping Afloat

I’m feeling a little jittery & off balance at the moment & in need of daily grounding to keep afloat.

I’m sure I’m not alone in finding Coronavirus a little daunting – working & living alone is certainly allowing that jitteryness to take hold even more.

I wondered therefore what I could do to add to the mix of support available & decided to share insights from a coaching tool I use in coaching and workshops.

It’s called the frameworks for change coaching process * & involves exploring the words on a series of cards to help us to tap into our inner wisdom.

An inner wisdom that is able to connect us to our inner calm.

I’ll be sharing a set of cards every day for at least the next couple of weeks.

Today’s insights to keep afloat are:
  • Insight: You successfully resisted the temptation to gossip.
  • Potential setback: Setback by comparison on the current situation.
  • Insight: I measure my success by how much I enjoy my work.
  • Mentor: Enthusiasm
Reflect on your own thoughts about these cards as these will always be more powerful for you than my own.

I have however shared my thoughts on a YouTube video (see below and also my YT channel here) & below.

Insight: You successfully resisted the temptation to gossip.

In this context gossip for me is about conversations where we’re telling a story and as we do so we add energy to the story. It’s as if we’re adding in more dark corners and angrier and bigger monsters with every telling. Which eventually has us afraid to go out and jumping at every loud noise. If we stop telling the story and stick to the facts, and focus on the actions we personally can take on a day to day basis, some of the jitteriness will dissipate.

Potential setback: Setback by comparison on the current situation. 

Do not look at others and see them as somehow being better off than you. We each have our own journey, and the media (social and otherwise) is always going to look as if most people are coping well. The chances are that a large majority of people are feeling like you are.  

Insight: I measure my success by how much I enjoy my work.

Some of the usual means of measuring success like hours at work, promotions, financial investments increasing, earnings, or even pats on the back may be a little light on the ground at the moment. What happens if we focus on the enjoyment we’re getting from what we’re doing, focusing more on what success today looks like rather than success next week, next month or next year.

Mentor: Enthusiasm

For me this links to the earlier cards – how can we tap into our enthusiasm today.

Find that one thing that when all around is fraught gives us joy. It might not be huge - it could be playing with your children/cat, or eating a favourite dessert or even watching your favourite film. Anything that will help shift from jangly and jittery to a more joyful mindset.

I'm posting on LinkedIn , Facebook and YouTube daily so pop over there to have a daily dose of insight to help keep you afloat. I'll pop back and share occasionally here.

* The process, the insight, setback and mentor cards used here are from Frameworks for Change © Innerlinks -

You can get a less businessy set of very similar cards online from Amazon or in person as Findhorn Phoenix shop - the cards are called Intuitive Solutions (Amazon UK, Amazon US).

Thursday 5 March 2020

Poor supplier performance

“What contributes to your own poor performance?” Was a question I asked delegates on a supplier management workshop this week. Interestingly ‘being lazy’, ‘incapable of doing it’, ‘not having the skills/expertise’ did not appear on the list. And yet .... They’re frequently the reasons we jump to when let down by others poor performance (including and especially our suppliers). During the discussion an appreciation of all the other reasons for poor performance of our suppliers put a hold on the blame and the judgement of them, and shifted the delegates thinking to what they could do to increase the likelihood of great performance from their suppliers. What do your suppliers need from you so they can deliver the expected performance?

Tuesday 3 March 2020

You don’t get married to improve the sex

“You don’t get married to improve the sex” Was a quote from last week’s supplier management workshop when discussing segmenting suppliers. In other words we only want to apply Supplier Relationship Management tools and techniques to the suppliers who have proved they can meet their contractual obligations and performance. Not rush head long into marriage to discover we’re incompatible, and they’re also unreliable and not to be trusted.