Published: 25 November 2021
Many of us dislike having a challenging conversation with someone, especially if we consider them to be diligent workers who only need development in a couple of places. What happens quite often is instead of taking up the issue with the person when it is relatively minor, we procrastinate only to watch it balloon into a more severe performance issue later.
What makes these discussions so tricky before we even start them? Why do we feel increased pressure and feel reticent about having the conversation? What is it that makes us afraid?
Published: 25 September 2021
There is a seeming paradox in our brains when it comes to learning. On one end of the spectrum, the brain is a pattern recognition machine seeking the familiar to instill a sense of stability and security in us. Its happy place is when things are certain, predictable and consistent.
On the other end of the spectrum, a degree of uncertainty also attracts the brain. Our surroundings compel us to explore. It is through this innate drive to explore that we learn, grow, develop and discover.
Published: 25 July 2021
When COVID-19 forced us to work from home, it required us to adapt our ways of collaborating, communicating and cooperating online. It was a steep learning curve for most of us to discover what worked well and what didn’t. In some instances, it required fresh thinking and novel ways of doing things.
One of the more salient points to have arisen from the pandemic is that we can still be productive when working remotely. We can still have effective meetings when conducted online. We are still able to move projects forward, although we are planning virtually.
Published: 25 May 2021
Breathing is the link between the brain and the body. It’s the number one thing to give our mind a reset. When we feel nervous, stressed, overwhelmed or catch ourselves overthinking, breathing protocols can get us back to a calm, relaxed and controlled state of being. When we are out of breath, it means we are out of control. When our mind is out of control, our breathing typically follows.
Published: 25 January 2021
Finally, we have reached 2021. It’s a fresh canvas. I want to start painting it with optimistic expectations. Unfortunately, the turbulence of 2020 has left me somewhat doubtful. I find that, as hard as I try, I can’t shift my gears into full optimism. For me, my expectations for the new year are a mixture of trepidation and positive expectation.
Talking about our problems with a trusted person can help us to work out what is bothering us and to figure out what we can do about it. It also helps us to understand how and why we think and feel the way we do. Such insight increases our ability to handle future thoughts and emotions.
Talking is an important part of our relationships. It can strengthen our ties with other people and help us stay in good mental health. At the same time, when we feel listened to, we feel others care about us and what we have to say.
It is great if we discover specific actions that help us to resolve or improve our situation. The ability to verbalise our thoughts and emotions can, itself, be a part of the solution.
Talking about our problems is like getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. All these eﬀorts contribute to the improvement of our well-being.
In this article, I explore why talking about our problems and issues can be so cathartic.
I have written quite extensively on how our brains deal with uncertainty. It is even more relevant now than anything in our recent, collective memories. We have concerns about physical safety, financial healthy and job security. We don’t know if the current state of aﬀairs will last 12, 18, 24 months or longer.
Trauma therapists know well enough what follows a physical ordeal is a psychological one. Trauma is about undergoing a distressful or disturbing experience. COVID-19 has created a collective trauma.
Physical safety has been and is the major focus. Working from home and social distancing are strategies employed to reduce physical harm. Currently, there is very little focus on psychological well-being.
From my perspective this detrimental imbalance prompts a vital question. Do we come out of this pandemic with post-traumatic stress or with post-traumatic growth?
The answer is obviously the latter. Psychological safety is an essential element if we are going to arrive at this outcome. Psychological safety is as relevant now as it has ever been.
A tsunami of change has swept the planet and has rattled the foundation of what we have considered normal. The magnitude of change has left its indelible mark at every level – from the individual up to the societal level. It has awakened anxieties about financial health, job security and direction in life. For some it may even have shaken their sense of purpose. And this is on top of all the other things that have made a continental shift in our lives.
Everyone I know is grappling with the change to the normal rhythms and routines of life. Our plans have been upended and the way forward is unclear. Like all upheavals, it gives us a chance to see the world with fresh eyes.
When unexpected change hits, we all become tourists in our own lives. We begin to see with fresh eyes the things we took for granted. We rediscover the world has endless possibilities, but the limits of our routines have blinded us to this fact. Upheavals force us to take a good, hard look at our lives and to ask, “Where do I want to go from here?”
One of the most important communication skills any of us can learn is how to give feedback. If done well it promotes learning, development, and confidence. If done poorly it can have the opposite impact.
Learning to give feedback is like any other skill. We grow more adept at something the more we practice.