Archive for the ‘Personal reflection’ Category

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How Being Plagued by ‘Not Doing Enough’ can be a Trap

woman with headacheI have a very healthy dose of self-loathing. But I think we all have a past of being whatever our story was, of feeling not good enough. It can propel you to work harder and do more, but it can also be a tremendous trap, and you can’t see beyond it.
– Kim Cattarall
 

Last month, working up and down the country, I heard a question voiced by several women. Their concern was, “Am I doing enough?”

It got me reflecting that I have very rarely heard this expressed by any of my male clients! But this is not to say that men don’t ever have such concerns.

So – how about you?

Is this a question you ask yourself?  This might be in your work, family or community life.

Is there a nagging doubt that what you are doing isn’t quite enough and perhaps carrying some guilt that you could be doing more?

This is despite the juggling of multiple tasks, activities and demands with all the available hours in the day.

And what’s more – what you are doing is probably more than adequate.

Yet the gnawing doubt remains.

“Am I doing enough?” or some variant of this is an underlying question that pops up no matter how much you are doing.

The human condition

As aspiring people, at some stage, many of us have been plagued by this question andthe unrelenting pursuit for more, quicker or better.

If you can relate to this blog just check that the root cause of this is not something much deeper.

Being human, having underlying doubts and anxiety about our core self – our identity goes with the territory.

We try and fill this gap by many different means – pursuing the next big shiny object, buying expensive items, zoning out, trying to be a super man or super woman and the list goes on.

You see deep down we don’t feel complete, adequate and whole in ourselves. In other words, we don’t feel like WE ARE ENOUGH!

We may even feel like imposters – waiting to be found out for who we really are which is not very much at all.

Our social conditioning

Along with our own existential make up, we are also bombarded with images, messages, expectations that we can look, feel, do and be a lot more.

This can be a motivating force in a healthy dosage but the need to do and be more can also be a reactive “fix” to a bottomless need.

Age and stage of life 

Our perspective also changes as we transition through the various stages of our lives.

As per The Atlantic article, as we age into our mature years, we can feel more relaxed and have greater acceptance of ourselves and our life circumstances.

The desire to do and achieve things can also come from a stronger place of what our core values are such as helping others, greater community mindedness, more gratitude and so on.

We are even more motivated and driven by these intrinsic drivers along with the emerging consciousness that life is limited and our days are numbered.

What can we do now? 

Sheryl Sandberg in her very readable book, “Lean In”, puts this well especially in relation to working mums that “Guilt management can be just as important as time management.”

Perhaps we need to remind ourselves when these thoughts arise, that not only are we already “whole”,  but we are doing the best we can and that perfection doesn’t exist.

Instead of the relentless pursuit of filling the “not enough” gap, we need to remind ourselves to come from a place of greater wholeness and self-acceptance.

This is a much calmer and resourceful place without the constant negative and self-berating chatter of not being and doing enough.

We are also more composed and centered then and are therefore able to give more and make better decisions.

Ultimately it is also about the quality of life rather than the quantity of things.

Your thoughts?

Image of woman  – courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jasbindar Singh works as a business psychologist and leadership coach.
www.jasbindarsingh.com

Great Leaders “Mind the Gap”

Mind_the_gap_2So many of us are busy running around doing a gazillion ‘important’ things but failing to give ourselves the most precious gift of time and perspective.

No one is arguing that the demands on us have increased hugely and that there are always more things than time itself.

Talking about her busy life of juggling work, family and friends and her own well-being, a client said, “I need to start making time to ‘mind the gap‘ and getting off automatic.”

She was recalling the “mind the gap” message in London’s underground train station.

She chose to use it as a visual and auditory reminder to pause before taking action.

So what is the gap I am referring to here?

Unlike the gap of the London Tubes, here we are referring to the psychological and physical space that allows us to:

  • Pause
  • Think
  • Feel
  • Gather our senses
  • Become conscious of our breath
  • Get in touch with our spirit
  • Re-group
  • Come home to ourselves
  • And then respond

 

Some examples of the undesirable outcomes of not “minding the gap” can be:

  • Failing to recognize the other person’s emotional state but ploughing on instead (empathy )
  • Going on automatic and responding from our conditioned responses
  • Not being able to see the wood for the trees
  • Working in the business, not on it and
  • Not having adequate recovery time to recuperate our energies – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual
  • Failing to question if there was a better way

When we stop minding the gaps is when we end up making poorer decisions, limiting our choices and taking actions we regret later.

 

In the work setting, clients – managers and business owners have used the following strategies for “minding the gap.”

  • Taking a lunch break
  • Going for a walk around the block
  • Getting in the office early and having a quiet hour before everyone arrives
  • Using the first 30 minutes to orient to the day’s priorities
  • Pausing /Thinking before answering
  • Taking five when a conversation gets heated
  • Consciously taking a back seat in a meeting
  • The practice of mindfulness
  • Using the drive between work and home to shift gears before seeing the family
  • Dealing with change and seeing transition times as ‘minding the gap’ before making any final decisions and any major changes.
  • Focus on breathing to re-connect with deeper self

Here’s a reflective practice  exercise that may help.

Why not “mind the gap” now to reflect on the strategies that wok for you….I look forward to hearing.

Jasbindar is a leadership coach, facilitator and speaker who helps executives harness the best of themselves and their teams.

Image – Courtesy of London Underground 

Compassion and Gratitude

authentic leadership, emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligenceOne of the hardest things in life can be confronting our own self. This is the sense of existential angst – regardless of who you are and what you have in life. Coming face to face with oneself in the mirror – that ultimately we have to live with ourselves, in ourselves.

This is not always a comfortable place for many and it is not surprising that many turn to more pleasurable outlets such as sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling -anything to escape from reality! But at the end of it all, we are still left staring ourselves in the mirror, possibly feeling even worse.

So is there a solution? Well yes. (more…)

The Magic of Grand Canyon

The Grand CanyonSeeing the Grand Canyon last week was a truly overwhelming experience – no wonder it’s rated as one of the seven wonders of the world. 

What an incredible vision! And to think that what we saw was a tiny fraction of a 446 river kms. long, 29 kms. wide and 1.6 kms. deep natural wonder.

It’s amazing to think that soft elements like water and wind have over a million years worked their daily magic to create this scene.

My sense of awe and wonder was reflected on the faces of many others around me, especially as the setting sun made for an even more spectacular experience, its light transforming the stratified and multi-hued sections.

Being in the presence of this, I began to think about us humans relative to the existence of nature and such magnificence.  (more…)

Leadership wins and bloopers

forest walkwayThe holiday break naturally pre-disposes us to a more reflective mindset about the year that was whilst also looking ahead into the new year.

Here’s my suggestion on a light-hearted yet meaningful exercise to engage in as part of your reflective practice.

In thinking about 2013, what have been your:

1)   Wins

2)   Challengers

3)   Bloopers/stuff ups!

4)   Lessons

5)   Discoveries e.g. unexpected opportunities, unappreciated strengths

 

In looking ahead to 2014, what might you be: 

1)   Moving away from

2)   Moving towards


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A bonus:

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And very finally, wishing you a joyous and safe holiday season and much success in 2014!  Kia Kaha.

Warm wishes 
JASBINDAR

Jasbindar Singh is a leadership coach and business psychologists who loves helping people achieve their dreams and aspirations. She thoroughly enjoys working with senior leaders develop their EQ including self awareness and other capabilities.

 

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