Tag Archives: well being

RECOGNISING FACTORS OF STRESS

what do you want me to do
I have been very humbled by the comments and emails I have received about my Blog about stress and its challenges. There is one overriding theme through these communications. How does a person realise they are stressed or not? Remember stress is an essential part of Humans functionality. This part is good as a reasonable level of stress does work for us, not against us.

However when these levels get too much, our minds go into overwhelm. This in itself creates what some might call ‘irrational behaviour’. This may not be recognised by the individual concerned. It is easy to say – recognise and deal with it – not so easy when you are immersed in it.

Apart from the obvious indicators or stress such as , levels of low energy, irritation with others, anger about stuff in general, possibly leading to a withdrawal into a ‘personal world’ almost cutting yourself off from others both and work and socially. We all have what I describe as trigger points that will spark a reaction from this person. These trigger points vary from person to person as each set of circumstances are different. Here is a small list of what for some are those trigger points. Have a look at these and read them with an open mind. Some of them may strike a chord with you, a co-worker or close friend. As we all know stress can and does have very serious effects on a person’s quality of life – and life itself.

Alcohol/Tobacco
In my experience as a Coach, I have come across some people who call for a drink on the way home from work. However in some circumstances one drink will lead to two and maybe more. This person might then end up in court on a drink driving charge, involved in an accident hurting themselves or another innocent person. In fact they might have another drink when they get home.
The same thoughts apply to smoking. There are some people who ‘eat’ cigarettes; they go through 2 or 3 packs a day. Not only is it expensive, and they are damaging their health as well. The alcohol and tobacco elements become this persons ‘comfort blanket’ – their ‘feel good factor’.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Do you have a drink because the bottle is there?
Do you light up that cigarette, even when you don’t want it?

Anger/Frustration
I have also coached people who are fine at work. They perform their job well; they are liked and respected by their peers. However when they get home the family bears the brunt of their stress and frustration. The slightest little thing will cause a person to raise their voice at their other half. I have come across examples where a person walks into the house and steps on a toy – Boom – World War 3 has started. There are some people who have very heated discussions as to who has the TV remote. Something as simple as this can escalate into a very serious situation. Sometimes this type of interaction could lead to physical harm to one or both parties.
Does this sound familiar to you?

The ‘Bedroom Department’
The ‘Bedroom Department’ is seldom talked about. There are times when a person (Male or Female) has not been able to make love to their other half in the way they used to. This is not just a male issue. This in my experience can affect both men and women. In most examples that I have come across, the very fact that they cannot make love brings an added level of stress on top of the existing one. Another factor comes in to play here. Which is a person’s Ego. Like excess alcohol consumption, drugs, unacceptable behaviour at home and the office and the ‘Bedroom Department’, become a Taboo subject or subjects.
Do you have a Taboo subject?

Work Related Issues
Work related stress is one of the most common causes of raised stress levels. If you work at a Company where there are the usual levels of stress – then that is good. This is a Company that does not makes totally excessive demands of its work force. There are structures in place such as your job description is clearly defined. The Company empowers and trains you to complete your allotted tasks. It will have work schedules that are achievable and realistic and challenges you in your current role.
On the other hand, you may experience bullying, unrealistic time pressures, overbearing supervisors and senior staff, no or very little training, travelling to work, redundancies, down sizing and maybe having to work overtime to make a decent wage. These are just a few examples – I am sure that you can think of a lot more. I do not have a ‘silver bullet’ for the examples above. However, in most countries that I deal with there are Company policies and National legislation in place to protect workers against such actions and anti social policies.

If you are involved in your Companies downsizing policy – then see it as an opportunity to seek a role elsewhere. You will have skills and experience that are transferable to another employer. All is not necessarily lost, even though it might feel that way at the moment. Focus on what you want in the future – is what you are doing and having to experience getting you there.
Do you have an Action Plan to get what you want?

Do Not Become A Statistic
I was once a Police Officer in the UK. I was working in the gaol area one night when a guy was brought in under arrest. It turns out that he was arrested on suspicion of Burglary. He was an articulate man, well spoken. Not the usual type of person that a gaoler is used to processing. Once he had been placed in a cell, I did my rounds. After 30 minutes I checked on him to see if he was alright. I got a lot of attitude from him, he thought I was judging him. As I was on the other side of the cell bars to him.

He went on to say that he was a former Company Director with a 6 figure salary, Company Car, Health Benefits, the full works. He was then let go by this Company – and could not face going out in the job market for fear of failure which stressed him enormously. The only way he thought he could feed his family was to rob houses. Which thankfully he was not very good at. He made the point to me, that, I could be on his side of the bars if I make a wrong turn or decision in the future.
Do you know that conversation has stayed with me since 1982!

You are not alone, call me (+44) 0799 099 1103

richard@saxtonpartners.co.uk

LR10aa

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DEALING WITH STRESS

suspicion
Since my last post on recognising stress. I have been asked if I have any more tips on dealing with stress. Here are a few more of my thoughts, They may not tick the box for all of you reading this. However it might help you to create your own strategy – after all if you ‘own’ the strategy, then you will have more change of success. If these do tick the box for you, then start that change process – NOW!

If you look at my previous blog, the main thrust of it, is that someone has a need to recognise the symptoms that are actually stressed. This in turn will then enable that individual to make two choices. Address the stress or simply get on with it. Remember me saying, that we all need a bit of stress to make us function as Humans, to create and achieve our goals for ourselves and our loved ones.

There are some simple things you can do to de-stress yourself:-

1.) Exercise.
This might take the form of joining a gym. When you do go, work at your own pace, do what you want to do. Be yourself and work to your needs not the people around you. Or simply put on your coat and go for a walk – whatever the weather.

2.) Take a snap shot of your life.
Simply look at some of those things that could be causing your stress. A sudden shift by you will not be sustained, as you will revert back to type in time. A small shift on a regular basis is all you need. Remember that phrase “If you do what you have always done, you will get the same result.” Therefore if you don’t tackle stress – you will still end up feeling stressed.

3.) Me Time.
When do you ever have ‘Me Time’? This is very important as you can give yourself some quality ‘Me Time”. By the very fact you are assigning yourself this time – will give to yourself a huge feel good factor. ‘Me Time’ can simply mean listening to music, going out with friends and/or socialising, or doing a bit of mediation or reading.

4.) Give yourself a Challenge.
You might decide to enrol at College and do a basic language course 1 evening a week. If this challenge is a physical one – this will tick this Challenge Section – the ‘Me Time’ Section and the Exercise Section. A win – win – win.

5.) Accept the things you cannot change.
This might be the most challenging aspect. Some things are completely out of our control, there is nothing we can do about them. So why stress about it? Accept the fact and work with it.

These are just some ideas to ‘kick start’ your thinking. If you want me to help you think through your new way of thinking – simply contact me via this blog.

This is your life – your body – your mind. You owe it to yourself to ‘own it’.

Have a great stress free day.
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STRESS AND HOW TO RECOGNISE AND DEAL WITH IT.

LR10aa
Stress is nothing new in human evolution. Our ancestors have experienced stress and its effects. However we all seem to think it is a modern day phenomenon.
Stress has all sorts of definitions. The one I like describes stress as the experience of unpleasant over or under stimulation. Yes – Over Stimulation OR Under Stimulation. We as humans cannot function without some sort of stimulation or challenge. This stimulation provides excitement, drive and indeed motivates us – as long as you feel in control.
Stress is the mismatch between these challenges that face you and your belief in your own ability to cope with those challenges.

Stress can affect you in four different ways:-
1. Physically – you might get headaches or tummy upsets.
2. Emotionally – you might become grumpy and irritable.
3. Mentally – your ability to think might become impaired.
4. Behaviourally – they way you are acting, is not the ‘normal’ you.

There is a lot written about stress and how to cope with and deal with it. Here lies the fundamental problem. A person, who is stressed, does not necessarily know they are stressed! All the medical people say that a certain amount of stress is good for you – as it stimulates the mind and body into action – which is very true. However if we become stressed we will start to become overwhelmed with anxiety, tension, frustration even anger. These emotions will show in the way we interact with people.

The danger here is burn out simply put burn out is a loss of idealism, energy and purpose. Physical and emotional exhaustion is the order of the day as your ‘fuel tanks’ are empty. There are 4 stages to this process:-

Stage 1 – Lots of energy and enthusiasm for the role you play.
Danger signs – Too busy to take holidays or time off. Taking work home. Too little time with family and friends. Unwilling to refuse extra work load.

Stage 2 – Small bouts of irritation, combined with feelings of stagnation. This may lead to you blaming others.
Danger signs – Not happy with quality of other people’s work. Starting to crumble under workload, hence you might to start working extra hours to catch up. Time management goes out of the window.

Stage 3 – Increasing level of anger inside you. Will lead to low self esteem even be quite apathetic.
Danger signs – Life becomes a chore and whatever you do tires you out. Your commitment to work and home life wanes.

Stage 4 – Complete withdrawal, combined with feelings of failure. You may become or feel ill at this point.
Danger signs – Avoiding people, maybe calling in sick at work. Becoming increasingly isolated. Could lead to increased level of alcohol consumption or use of chemical substances.

If you are at any of the 4 stages. STOP and look at the contributing factors, or see a Personal Coach. They will be able to guide you off this self destructive path. It is vital for your well being to take action now!

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MIND OVER MATTER – VERSION 2

Richards Arrows

For those of you who have looked at my post MIND OVER MATTER. Here is a little something extra.

Over the weekend I was clearing some stuff from my loft at the house. I can across an old bag. In this bag were these broken arrows. I had a wonderful memory of how these became broken. The story of which I will share with you now.

We have all heard of the ‘Fire Walks’ or ‘Walk of Trust’ or whatever people call them. This is where you walk across hot coals. I am sure we have all seen this done in various website and you tube clips. These types of things can be very empowering when done in the right way.

There some people who do workshops on this theme. Where they get them to break a piece of wood that is in front of them. The basis of this is, the mind says, that woods too thick, and it essence it is only as strong as you think it is. So, when you go to break the wood you are hitting through it – focussing on what is behind the wood.

I had a similar experience with these arrows. These are wooden arrows, not knowing much about them. All I can tell you is that the name on the side is CAJUN Archery Inc and it says BOW WT. UP TO 35#. They have feather flights with a plastic knock on the end. On the other end they have an aluminium arrow head. The length is around 63 cm or 25 inches. You only use wooden arrows for this.

How I broke this arrow is very strange and interesting. I was asked to think of a current challenge in my life – which I did. I stood face to face with another person. This other person put the end with the plastic knock against a square piece of wood. This was to hold it in place. Then I was then asked to put the other end of the arrow (the aluminium head) against my throat, near to my Adam’s apple. I was asked to walk forward on to this arrow.

Yes – you are reading this right – stepping forward on to this arrow shaft with its arrow head to my throat.

It snapped, thus breaking or exploding the myth or belief around my views on this challenging situation. I was quite stunned as to how quick it broke.

Do you know, when I reflected on the challenge that I did have in my head. It was no longer a challenge at all – it was quite diminished. I faced my fear about being hurt by this arrow and by doing so helped me with my challenge at the time.

I must stress, that this was done in a controlled environment with qualified people. I do not recommend that you do this yourself.

We all have to face things in life; we have to deal with all sorts of ‘stuff’ day in day out. The best way to sort this out is to actually deal with it and not put it off anymore.

Simple Mind over Matter – Do not take my word for it, try it yourself.

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Do Your Work Colleagues Work And/Or Think In Silo’s?

I visited a potential client the other day, who was a manufacturer. Had a tour round the plant by one of the Directors. Very clean, very organised – no out of date memos on the notice boards – you know the thing I mean.

I was collected by this Director in their reception area. We started our factory tour by putting on our high visibility vest, safety hat and ear plugs. I was shown one area near to the reception, where some goods are delivered. All quite neat and tidy.

We then went into another part of the factory, which in fact was another part of their manufacturing process – a storage area. There was a difference, still tidy – the notice boards were still organised – and it had information only about that area of the business – nothing else. I would go so far as to say, that the staff had a different attitude to the ones I had previously experienced.

My factory tour continued into the main production hall. The noise level here was higher than the other two areas – not surprising as this was the main hub of the whole plant. I noticed that the floor and corners of this area were not as clean or tidy, when compared with the previous department. There was a lot of shouting, and quite ‘robust’ language, people being quite aggressive with each other. They were not arguing or fighting – just a bunch of guys constantly in each others faces.

The final part of my tour was the distribution area. Once again there was a marked difference to the production area. I went with my host to the boardroom for a coffee. He asked me what I thought about his plant. I said that my first impressions were that there seemed to the four businesses under one roof. The delivery area, the storage area, the production area and the logistics side of the business.

The Director was interested and asked me to give to him more detail about what we were discussing. The main point that I made was that each area was so different to the other. Yes – we must have some differences. What I was alluding to was the attitude of the work force in those areas – the way they came across as I walked passed them.
This Director thought about what I had said and after some discussion he realised that the four areas reflected the Manager that ran them. In essence the guy running the production area was a former military man before he came to industry. His department reflected his management style, as did the other three departments.

These four Managers had created their own Silo’s or how that part of the business worked for them, It is important to have individuals who are what they are and not clones of each other. So that they are different as I am different to my host Director.

He then told me that they were having ‘communication problems’ between departments. That is why he contacted me and gave me the factory tour. He knew there was something not right, yet, could not put his finger on it.
I devised a plan to ‘De-Silo’ the Managers – the benefit will be that communication will be better. Thus ensuring that the needs of the external customer are put first – not the internal Silo’s. Quite a challenge – however, I will achieve a result for him.

If you need silo’s removing – then I can help you.

Have a great day.

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Customer Service – How Do Your Clients See Yours?

I came across this story recently about customer service. You may have read it before, so bear with me. The story itself will make you think.

The story is set in the USA, where someone purchased a new $70,000 BMW car. He chose the colour and a few other things in line with what he wanted for this vehicle. This chap was a non smoker – so he ordered a coin holder to replace the ash tray. When his car was delivered, he was disappointed that his request seemingly had been ignored – as the ash tray was still in the car – not the coin holder that he had ordered.

He called the garage and asked if they would post to him the coin holder and he would simply take out the ash tray and replace it with the coin holder – quite simple. Not according to the garage as they insisted that he called into the showroom. This was inconvenient for him as it was 60 mile round trip.

In the short term he thought – to heck with it and got on with a few jobs in the house. Which gave him time to think. Why did they not give me what he wanted? What he did then was to call Mercedes, Lexus, Rolls Royce and a few other prestige car distributors. He put his current scenario to them – they all replied that would have put the coin holder in the post as it was their mistake in the first place, and, it was only right that they put it right.

Armed with this feedback from the other car dealers. He rang the original dealership where he had bought his car from. Told them exactly what the other dealerships had said – and, gave them a piece of his mind. Once he finished the call, he put down the receiver and had a coffee. About 30 minutes later there was a knock on his door. He answered it and a young mechanic gave to him a coin holder for his car.

“It’s amazing that I had to call you and tell you what other people would do just to get BMW to take some action and get out here.”

To which the mechanic replied;

“I can understand your frustration – but, I’m not from BMW I am from Lexus.”

Which begs the question – What do you do for your clients or potential clients?

For my part in Saxton Partners as part of our Executive Coaching, Mentoring and courses – we offer:-

Resource Library – A full use of our resource library, which includes books, CD’s & DVD’s. These are loaned out to whoever needs them.

Follow Through – We follow through with them after their Executive Coaching / Mentoring sessions with appointments in the diary and action points that they have to complete.

Phone Support – I am always at the end of my mobile phone. If I am coaching when they ring – I call them back. My phone charges up overnight on my bedside cabinet. So if any of them need me – they can get hold of me. Although offered as part of our service to clients, this has never happened – however they know they can get hold of me. That is enough to put someone at ease, when they are going through some change in their lives either personally or professionally.

Action – When I say I will do something for them – I do it. Even if it just a quick phone call to see if they are ok – or to email them a paper that I have written on a subject that they are interested in.

The above are just a few things that we offer ‘over and above’ what is expected or demanded from our clients.

This ‘added value’ is very important to both current clients and prospective clients. With the latter you are giving them an experience of dealing with you – even though they have not committed yet, to doing something with you.

If you are interested in Executive Coaching, then take action; just contact me, that way we can make it happen.

Have a great day.

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